The Association of Mitochondrial Content with Prevalent and Incident Type 2 Diabetes.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Context: It has been shown that mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content is associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and related traits. However, empirical data, often based on small samples, did not confirm this observation in all studies. Therefore, the role of mtDNA content in T2D remains elusive. Objective: In this study, we assessed the heritability of mtDNA content in buccal cells and analyzed the association of mtDNA content in blood with prevalent and incident T2D. Design and Setting: mtDNA content from cells from buccal and blood samples was assessed using a real-time PCR-based assay. Heritability of mtDNA content was estimated in 391 twins from the Netherlands Twin Register. The association with prevalent T2D was tested in a case control study from The Netherlands (n = 329). Incident T2D was analyzed using prospective samples from Finland (n = 444) and The Netherlands (n = 238). Main Outcome Measures: We measured the heritability of mtDNA content and the association of mtDNA content in blood with prevalent and incident T2D. Results: A heritability of mtDNA content of 35% (19-48%) was estimated in the twin families. We did not observe evidence of an association between mtDNA content and prevalent or incident T2D and related traits. Furthermore, we observed a decline in mtDNA content with increasing age that was male specific (P = 0.001). Conclusion: In this study, we show that mtDNA content has a heritability of 35% in Dutch twins. There is no association between mtDNA content in blood and prevalent or incident T2D and related traits in our study samples.


  • Erwin Reiling
  • Charlotte Ling
  • André G Uitterlinden
  • Esther Van't Riet
  • Laura M C Welschen
  • Claes Ladenvall
  • Peter Almgren
  • Valeriya Lyssenko
  • Giel Nijpels
  • Els C van Hove
  • Johannes A Maassen
  • Eco J C de Geus
  • Dorret I Boomsma
  • Jacqueline M Dekker
  • Leif Groop
  • Gonneke Willemsen
  • Leen M 't Hart
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Endocrinology and Diabetes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1909-1915
JournalThe Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch