Gene-Based Research Identifies Novel Adiposity Variants

HealthDay News — Eleven novel adiposity variants have been identified after adjustment for physical activity, and physical activity can reduce the weight-gaining effects of the FTO gene by about 30%, according to a meta-analysis published online in PLOS Genetics.

Mariaelisa Graff, PhD, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues performed a genome-wide interaction meta-analyses of BMI and BMI-adjusted waist circumference and waist-hip ratio from up to 200,452 adults (180,423 of European and 20,029 of other ancestry) to identify adiposity loci whose effects are modified by physical activity. physical activity was categorized as a dichotomous variable, with 23% of participants classified as inactive and 77% as physically active.

The researchers replicated the interaction with physical activity for the known obesity-risk locus in the FTO gene, in which the effect is attenuated by about 30% for physically active versus inactive individuals. No additional loci that were sensitive to physical activity were identified. Eleven novel adiposity loci were identified in additional genome-wide meta-analyses adjusting for physical activity and interaction with physical activity.

“We do not find evidence of interaction with physical activity for loci other than the established FTO locus,” the authors write. “Accounting for [physical activity] or other environmental factors that contribute to variation in adiposity may increase power for gene discovery.”

Disclosures: The meta-analysis and several of the included studies received funding from pharmaceutical and health care companies.

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Graff M, Scott RA, Justice AE, et al. Genome-wide physical activity interactions in adiposity — a meta-analysis of 200,452 adults [published online April 27, 2017]. PLOS Genetics. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1006528