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Causal associations between cardiorespiratory fitness and type 2 diabetes.

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Higher cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes. However, the causality of this relationship and the biological mechanisms that underlie it are unclear. Here, we examine genetic determinants of cardiorespiratory fitness in 450k European-ancestry individuals in UK Biobank, by leveraging the genetic overlap between fitness measured by an exercise test and resting heart rate. We identified 160 fitness-associated loci which we validated in an independent cohort, the Fenland study. Gene-based analyses prioritised candidate genes, such as CACNA1C, SCN10A, MYH11 and MYH6, that are enriched in biological processes related to cardiac muscle development and muscle contractility. In a Mendelian Randomisation framework, we demonstrate that higher genetically predicted fitness is causally associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes independent of adiposity. Integration with proteomic data identified N-terminal pro B-type natriuretic peptide, hepatocyte growth factor-like protein and sex hormone-binding globulin as potential mediators of this relationship. Collectively, our findings provide insights into the biological mechanisms underpinning cardiorespiratory fitness and highlight the importance of improving fitness for diabetes prevention.



Humans, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Proteomics, Obesity, Risk Factors

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Nat Commun

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
MRC (MC_UU_00006/1)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12015/1)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12015/2)
MRC (MC_UU_00006/2)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12015/3)
MRC (MC_UU_00006/4)
Proteomic measurements in the Fenland Study were supported and governed by a collaboration agreement between the University of Cambridge and SomaLogic. LC was funded by Cambridge Trust. The Fenland Study (DOI: 10.22025/2017.10.101.00001) is supported by the UK Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00006/1). All authors were supported by the UK Medical Research Council [MC_UU_12015/1, MC_UU_12015/2, MC_UU_12015/3, MC_UU_00006/1, MC_UU_00006/2, MC_UU_00006/4].