Pubertal timing is under strong genetic control and its early onset associates with several adverse health outcomes in adulthood, including obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Recent data indicate strong association between pubertal timing and genetic variants near LIN28B, but it is currently unknown whether the gene contributes to the association between puberty and adult disease.
To elucidate the putative genetic link between early puberty and adult disease risk, we examined the association of two genetic variants near LIN28B with adult body size and metabolic profiles in randomly ascertained adult Finnish males and females.
Two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), rs7759938, the lead SNP previously associated with pubertal timing and height, and rs314279, previously also associated with menarcheal age but only partially correlated with rs7759938 (r2 = 0.30), were genotyped in 26,636 study subjects participating in the Finnish population survey FINRISK. Marker associations with adult height, weight, body mass index (BMI), hip and waist circumference, blood glucose, serum insulin and lipid/lipoprotein levels were determined by linear regression analyses.
Both rs7759938 and rs314279 associated with adult height in both sexes (p = 2×10−6 and p = 0.001). Furthermore, rs314279 associated with increased weight in females (p = 0.001). Conditioned analyses including both SNPs in the regression model verified that rs314279 independently associates with adult female weight, BMI and hip circumference (p<0.005). Neither SNP associated with glucose, lipid, or lipoprotein levels.
Genetic variants near the puberty-associated gene LIN28B associate with adult weight and body shape in females, suggesting that the gene may tag molecular pathways influencing adult adiposity-related traits.