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Variation in the phosphoinositide 3-kinase gamma gene affects plasma HDL-cholesterol without modification of metabolic or inflammatory markers.

PLoS ONE 10, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0144494 (2015)
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Objective Phosphoinositide 3-kinase γ (PI3Kγ) is a G-protein-coupled receptor-activated lipid kinase mainly expressed in leukocytes and cells of the cardiovascular system. PI3Kγ plays an important signaling role in inflammatory processes. Since subclinical inflammation is a hallmark of atherosclerosis, obesity-related insulin resistance, and pancreatic β-cell failure, we asked whether common genetic variation in the PI3Kγ gene (PIK3CG) contributes to body fat content/distribution, serum adipokine/cytokine concentrations, alterations in plasma lipid profiles, insulin sensitivity, insulin release, and glucose homeostasis. Study Design Using a tagging single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) approach, we analyzed genotype-phenotype associations in 2,068 German subjects genotyped for 10 PIK3CG SNPs and characterized by oral glucose tolerance tests. In subgroups, data from hyperinsulinaemic-euglycaemic clamps, magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the liver, whole-body magnetic resonance imaging, and intravenous glucose tolerance tests were available, and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were used for gene expression analysis. Results After appropriate adjustment, none of the PIK3CG tagging SNPs was significantly associated with body fat content/distribution, adipokine/cytokine concentrations, insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion, or blood glucose concentrations (p>0.0127, all; Bonferroni-corrected α-level: 0.0051). However, six non-linked SNPs displayed at least nominal associations with plasma HDL-cholesterol concentrations, two of them (rs4288294 and rs116697954) reaching the level of study-wide significance (p = 0.0003 and p = 0.0004, respectively). More precisely, rs4288294 and rs116697954 influenced HDL2-, but not HDL3-, cholesterol. With respect to the SNPs’ in vivo functionality, rs4288294 was significantly associated with PIK3CG mRNA expression in PBMCs. Conclusions We could demonstrate that common genetic variation in the PIK3CG locus, possibly via altered PIK3CG gene expression, determines plasma HDL-cholesterol concentrations. Since HDL2-, but not HDL3-, cholesterol is influenced by PIK3CG variants, PI3Kγ may play a role in HDL clearance rather than in HDL biogenesis. Even though the molecular pathways connecting PI3Kγ and HDL metabolism remain to be further elucidated, this finding could add a novel aspect to the pathophysiological role of PI3Kγ in atherogenesis.
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Publication type Article: Journal article
Document type Scientific Article
Reviewing status