A variable expansion of a GAA repeat is present in the first intron of the frataxin gene, also termed FRDA1 or X25. Long repeat lengths (>66 repeats) are present in patients with Friedreich's ataxia, while an intermediate expansion (10-66 repeats) has recently been reported to be highly associated with type 2 diabetes. Using a polymerase chain reaction-based assay, we found that 32.4% (95%CI 29.9-34.9) of 636 Danish Caucasian type 2 diabetic patients were carriers of an intermediate expansion, whereas the frequency was 30.4% (26.4-34.4) among 224 matched glucose-tolerant control subjects (P = 0.6). In the control subjects, the values of serum insulin and C-peptide responses during an oral glucose tolerance test were similar between the 69 carriers and 155 noncarriers. Furthermore, we investigated a possible relationship between expansions of the FRDA1 gene and glucose-induced beta-cell function in 338 young Caucasians (33.7% [30.1-37.3] carriers) and in 215 glucose-tolerant subjects (31.0% [26.6-35.4] carriers) with a type 2 diabetic parent. In neither population did the carriers differ from noncarriers according to values of fasting plasma glucose, serum insulin, or C-peptide, acute serum insulin, or C-peptide responses after intravenous glucose. In conclusion, intermediate expansion of the frataxin trinucleotide repeat is not associated with type 2 diabetes or altered glucose-induced insulin secretion in Danish Caucasians.

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