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Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-related single nucleotide polymorphisms rs10738760 and rs6921438 are not associated with diabetic retinopathy (DR) in Slovenian patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM)

Rifet Terzić, Ines Cilenšek, Ruda Zorc Pleskovič, Sara Mankoč, Aleksandra Milutinović


Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a complication of diabetes characterized by vascular permeability, increased tissue ischemia, and angiogenesis. One of the most important proteins involved in angiogenesis is vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF, also known as VEGFA). A previous study demonstrated that two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), rs6921438 and rs10738760, account for nearly half the variation in circulating VEGF levels. The aim of our study was to assess the association between rs6921438 and rs10738760 and DR in Slovenian patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). This case-control study enrolled 1037 unrelated Slovenian individuals (Caucasians) with T2DM. DR group included 415 T2DM patients with DR, while control group included 622 T2DM patients with no clinical signs of DR. The clinical and laboratory data were obtained from the medical records of the patients. The genotyping of rs6921438 and rs10738760 SNPs was carried out with real-time PCR assays. Significant differences were observed between patients with DR and controls in the duration of diabetes (p < 0.001), insulin therapy (p < 0.001), glycated hemoglobin (p = 0.001), body mass index (p = 0.002), total cholesterol (p = 0.002), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (p < 0.001). However, we did not observe significant differences in the genotype and allele distribution of the two SNPs, between DR and control group (p < 0.05). Logistic regression analysis showed that rs6921438 and rs10738760 were not independent genetic risk factors for DR in the co-dominant model adjusted for the above-mentioned clinical and laboratory data. In conclusion, VEGF-related SNPs rs10738760 and rs6921438 are not associated with DR in our group of Slovenian patients (Caucasians) with T2DM.


Vascular endothelial growth factor; VEGF; VEGFA; diabetic retinopathy; DR; type 2 diabetes mellitus; T2DM; single nucleotide polymorphism; SNP

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