Introduction: Clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP) is associated with atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. It has been suggested that CHIP may be related to diabetes, so we investigated the association between CHIP and new-onset type 2 diabetes.

Methods: This study included 4,047 subjects aged >=40 years without diabetes. To detect CHIP, targeted gene sequencing of genomic DNA from peripheral blood cells was performed. The incidence of new-onset type 2 diabetes during the follow-up period was evaluated.

Results: Of the total subjects, 635 (15.7%) had CHIP. During the median follow-up of 5.1 years, the incidence of new-onset diabetes was significantly higher in CHIP carriers than in subjects without CHIP (11.8% vs. 9.1%, p = 0.039). In a univariate analysis, CHIP significantly increased the risk of new-onset diabetes (HR 1.32, 95% CI 1.02–1.70, p = 0.034), but in a multivariate analysis, it was not significant. The CHIP-related risk of new onset diabetes differed according to LDL cholesterol level. In the hyper-LDL cholesterolemia group, CHIP significantly increased the risk of diabetes (HR 1.64, 95% CI 1.09–2.47, p = 0.018), but it did not increase the risk in the non-hyper-LDL cholesterolemia group. The subjects with CHIP and hyper-LDL-cholesterolemia had approximately twice the risk of diabetes than subjects without CHIP and with low LDL cholesterol (HR 2.05, 95% CI 1.40–3.00, p < 0.001).

Conclusion: The presence of CHIP was a significant risk factor for new-onset type 2 diabetes, especially in subjects with high LDL cholesterol. These results show the synergism between CHIP and high LDL cholesterol as a high-risk factor for diabetes.