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Proliferator-activated receptor gamma Pro12Ala interacts with the insulin receptor substrate 1 Gly972Arg and increase the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes in the mixed ancestry population from South Africa

Zelda Vergotine12, Yandiswa Y Yako1, Andre P Kengne34, Rajiv T Erasmus2 and Tandi E Matsha1*

Author Affiliations

1 Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, PO Box 1906, Bellville 7530, Cape Town, South Africa

2 Division of Chemical Pathology, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

3 NCRP for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa

4 Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

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BMC Genetics 2014, 15:10  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-15-10

Published: 21 January 2014



The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARG), Pro12Ala and the insulin receptor substrate (IRS1), Gly972Arg confer opposite effects on insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). We investigated the independent and joint effects of PPARG Pro12Ala and IRS1 Gly972Arg on markers of insulin resistance and T2DM in an African population with elevated risk of T2DM. In all 787 (176 men) mixed-ancestry adults from the Bellville-South community in Cape Town were genotyped for PPARG Pro12Ala and IRS1 Gly972Arg by two independent laboratories. Glucose tolerance status and insulin resistance/sensitivity were assessed.


Genotype frequencies were 10.4% (PPARG Pro12Ala) and 7.7% (IRS1 Gly972Arg). Alone, none of the polymorphisms predicted prevalent T2DM, but in regression models containing both alleles and their interaction term, PPARG Pro12 conferred a 64% higher risk of T2DM. Furthermore PPARG Pro12 was positively associated in adjusted linear regressions with increased 2-hour post-load insulin in non-diabetic but not in diabetic participants.


The PPARG Pro12 is associated with insulin resistance and this polymorphism interacts with IRS1 Gly972Arg, to increase the risk of T2DM in the mixed-ancestry population of South Africa. Our findings require replication in a larger study before any generalisation and possible application for risk stratification.

IRS1 Gly972Arg; PPARG Pro12Ala; Insulin resistance; Type 2 diabetes; Africa