Aims/hypothesis: Variants of the TCF7L2 gene predict the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). We investigated the associations between gene variants of TCF7L2 and clinical features of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) (an entity often preceeding T2DM), and their interaction with non-genetic factors, including plasma saturated fatty acids (SFA) concentration and insulin resistance (IR). Methods: Fasting lipid profiles, insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion, anthropometrics, blood pressure and 10 gene variations of the TCF7L2 gene were determined in 450 subjects with MetS. Results: Several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) showed phenotypic associations independent of SFA or IR. Carriers of the rare T allele of rs7903146, and of three other SNPs in linkage disequilibrium with rs7903146, had lower blood pressure and insulin secretion. High IR and the presence of the T-allele\ud of rs7903146 acted synergistically to define those with reduced insulin secretion. Carriers of the minor allele of rs290481 exhibited an altered lipid profile, with increased plasma levels of apolipoprotein B, non-esterified fatty acids, cholesterol and apolipoprotein B in triglyceride rich lipoproteins, and LDL cholesterol. Carriers of the minor allele of rs11196224 that had higher plasma SFA levels showed elevated procoagulant/proinflammatory biomarkers, impaired insulin secretion and increased IR, whereas carriers of the minor allele of rs17685538 with high plasma SFA levels exhibited higher blood pressure.\ud Conclusions/interpretation: SNP in the TCF7L2 gene are associated with differences in insulin secretion, blood pressure, blood lipids and coagulation in MetS patients, and may be modulated by SFA in plasma or IR
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