Endocrinol Metab.  2017 Sep;32(3):360-369. 10.3803/EnM.2017.32.3.360.

Leu72Met and Other Intronic Polymorphisms in the GHRL and GHSR Genes Are Not Associated with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Insulin Resistance, or Serum Ghrelin Levels in a Saudi Population

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Biochemistry Laboratory, King Abdulaziz Hospital, National Guard Health Affairs, Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia.
  • 2Department of Medical Biochemistry, Arabian Gulf University College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Manama, Bahrain. gehaha2002@yahoo.com
  • 3Clinical Biochemistry Laboratory, Salmaniya Medical Complex, Manama, Bahrain.
  • 4Cell and Developmental Biology, Division of Biosciences, University College London, London, United Kingdom.


Ghrelin (GHRL), a gastric peptide encoded by the GHRL gene, is known to be involved in energy homeostasis via its G protein receptor, encoded by the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR) gene. Some studies have shown associations between plasma GHRL levels and GHRL single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), namely the Leu72Met polymorphism (rs696217 TG), with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and insulin resistance (IR), while others have not. The controversies in these associations raise the issue of ‘which SNPs in which populations.’ The aim of this study was to investigate whether SNPs in GHRL and/or GHSR genes were associated with T2DM, IR, or plasma GHRL levels among Arab Saudis.
Blood was collected from 208 Saudi subjects with (n=107) and without (n=101) T2DM. DNA samples from these subjects were analyzed by real-time polymerase chain reaction to genotype five intronic SNPs in the GHRL (rs696217 TG, rs27647 CT, rs2075356 CT, and rs4684677 AT) and GHSR (rs509030 GC) genes. In addition, plasma GHRL levels were measured by a radioimmunoassay.
None of the SNPs were associated with T2DM, IR, or plasma GHRL levels. The frequencies of the alleles, genotypes, and haplotypes of the five SNPs were comparable between the T2DM patients and the non-diabetic subjects. A large number of the GHRL haplotypes indicates the molecular heterogeneity of the preproghrelin gene in this region.
Neither the Leu72Met polymorphism nor the other intronic GHRL and GHSR SNPs were associated with T2DM, IR, or GHRL levels. Further investigations should be carried out to explain the molecular basis of the association of the GHRL peptide with T2DM and IR.


Diabetes mellitus, type 2; Insulin resistance; Ghrelin; Receptors, ghrelin; Polymorphism
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