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Type: Journal article
Title: Maternal and offspring fasting glucose and type 2 diabetes-associated genetic variants and cognitive function at age 8: a Mendelian randomization study in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children
Author: Bonilla, C.
Lawlor, D.
Ben-Shlomo, Y.
Ness, A.
Gunnell, D.
Ring, S.
Smith, G.
Lewis, S.
Citation: BMC Medical Genetics, 2012; 13(1):90-1-90-10
Publisher: BioMed Central
Issue Date: 2012
ISSN: 1471-2350
Statement of
Carolina Bonilla, Debbie A Lawlor, Yoav Ben, Shlomo, Andrew R Ness, David Gunnell, Susan M Ring, George Davey Smith and Sarah J Lewis
Abstract: Background: In observational epidemiological studies type 2 diabetes (T2D) and both low and high plasma concentrations of fasting glucose have been found to be associated with lower cognitive performance. These associations could be explained by confounding. Methods: In this study we looked at the association between genetic variants, known to be robustly associated with fasting glucose and T2D risk, in the mother and her offspring to determine whether there is likely to be a causal link between early life exposure to glucose and child’s intelligence quotient (IQ) scores in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) cohort. We generated a fasting glucose (FGGRS) and a T2D (T2DGRS) genetic risk score and used them in a Mendelian randomization approach. Results: We found a strong correlation between the FGGRS and fasting glucose plasma measurements that were available for a subset of children, but no association of either the maternal or the offspring FGGRS with child’s IQ was observed. In contrast, the maternal T2DGRS was positively associated with offspring IQ. Conclusions: Maternal and offspring genetic variants which are associated with glucose levels are not associated with offspring IQ, suggesting that there is unlikely to be a causal link between glucose exposure in utero and IQ in childhood. Further exploration in even larger cohorts is required to exclude the possibility that our null findings were due to a lack of statistical power.
Keywords: Mendelian randomization; fasting glucose; type 2 diabetes; IQ; ALSPAC
Rights: © 2012 Bonilla et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2350-13-90
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