Ling XuFollow

Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Dietetics and Nutrition

First Advisor's Name

Fatma G. Huffman

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Vijaya Narayanan

Second Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Juan P. Liuzzi

Third Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Tan Li

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

committee member


TCF7L2, Type 2 diabetes, Cuban Americans, African Americans, Haitian Americans, Type 2 diabetes related traits

Date of Defense



Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) disproportionally affects ethnic minorities in the United States. The development of T2D involves complex interaction between environmental factors and genetic predisposition. The genetic associations of six single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in TCF7L2 gene with the risk of T2D were evaluated in three high risk minority populations: Cuban Americans, Haitian Americans, and African Americans. For Cuban Americans, four SNPs (rs7901695, rs4506565, rs7903146 and rs11225537) were significantly associated with the risk of T2D after multivariable adjustment (p=0.018, p=0.016, p=0.014, and p=0.0008, respectively). Among controls, risk allele carriers of SNPs rs7901695, rs4506565 and rs7903146 had significantly higher fasting glucose level, compared to non-risk allele carriers. Additionally, a significant interaction between dietary fiber intake and SNP rs7903146 for the risk of T2D (p= 0.044) was found in Cuban Americans. Similarly, for SNP rs7901695, significant interaction was also found for fiber intake (p=0.014) as well as glycemic load (p=0.040). Subgroup analysis revealed that significant associations were only found within higher intake groups of dietary factors for both SNPs. For Haitian Americans, SNPs rs11196205 (p=0.059) and rs7895340 (p=0.069) showed marginal significance for the risk of T2D. After stratification by gender, SNPs with marginal significance from the gender-combined analysis became statistically significant with the same trend for the risk of T2D when analysis were done in males: rs11196205 (p=0.034) and rs7895340 (p=0.024). For African Americans, SNP rs7903146 (p=0.065) showed a marginal significance with the risk of T2D in gender-combined analysis and a statistical significance (p=0.013) in males. Two additional SNPs rs7901695 and rs4506565 were found to be significantly associated with the risk of T2D in males. Risk allele carriers of these two SNPs had significantly higher mean level of the fasting glucose level, compared to non-risk allele carriers in controls. T2D related quantitative trait analysis also demonstrated that in controls, compared to non-minor allele carriers of SNP rs12255372, minor allele carriers had significantly higher means of BMI, diastolic blood pressure, numbers of components of Metabolic Syndrome, significantly lower mean values of HDL-cholesterol and adiponectin. Taken together, our studies demonstrated ethno-specific genetic associations between TCF7L2 gene and the risk of T2D and related phenotypes.





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