BACKGROUND & AIMS
A genome-wide association study associated 5 genetic variants with hepatic steatosis (identified by computerized tomography) in individuals of European ancestry. We investigated whether these variants were associated with measures of hepatic steatosis (HS) in non-Hispanic white (NHW), non-Hispanic black, and Mexican American (MA) participants in the US population-based National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III, phase 2.
We analyzed data from 4804 adults (1825 NHW, 1442 non-Hispanic black, and 1537 MA; 51.7% women; mean age at examination, 42.5 y); the weighted prevalence of HS was 37.3%. We investigated whether ultrasound-measured HS, with and without increased levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), or level of ALT alone, was associated with rs738409 (patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing protein 3 [PNPLA3]), rs2228603 (neurocan [NCAN]), rs12137855 (lysophospholipase-like 1), rs780094 (glucokinase regulatory protein [GCKR]), and rs4240624 (protein phosphatase 1, regulatory subunit 3b [PPP1R3B]) using regression modeling in an additive genetic model, controlling for age, age-squared, sex, and alcohol consumption.
The G allele of rs738409 (PNPLA3) and the T allele of rs780094 (GCKR) were associated with HS with a high level of ALT (odds ratio [OR], 1.36; P = .01; and OR, 1.30; P = .03, respectively). The A allele of rs4240624 (PPP1R3B) and the T allele of rs2228603 (NCAN) were associated with HS (OR, 1.28; P = .03; and OR, 1.40; P = .04, respectively). Variants of PNPLA3 and NCAN were associated with ALT level among all 3 ancestries. Some single-nucleotide polymorphisms were associated with particular races or ethnicities: variants in PNPLA3, NCAN, GCKR, and PPP1R3B were associated with NHW and variants in PNPLA3 were associated with MA. No variants were associated with NHB.
We used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III to validate the association between rs738409 (PNPLA3), rs780094 (GCKR), and rs4240624 (PPP1R3B) with HS, with or without increased levels of ALT, among 3 different ancestries. Some, but not all, associations between variants in NCAN, lysophospholipase-like 1, GCKR, and PPP1R3B with HS (with and without increased ALT level) were significant within subpopulations.