Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a complex and heritable eating disorder characterized by dangerously low body weight. Neither candidate gene studies nor an initial genome wide association study (GWAS) have yielded significant and replicated results. We performed a GWAS in 2,907 cases with AN from 14 countries (15 sites) and 14,860 ancestrally matched controls as part of the Genetic Consortium for AN (GCAN) and the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 3 (WTCCC3). Individual association analyses were conducted in each stratum and meta-analyzed across all 15 discovery datasets. Seventy-six (72 independent) SNPs were taken forward for in silico (two datasets) or de novo (13 datasets) replication genotyping in 2,677 independent AN cases and 8,629 European ancestry controls along with 458 AN cases and 421 controls from Japan. The final global meta-analysis across discovery and replication datasets comprised 5,551 AN cases and 21,080 controls. AN subtype analyses (1,606 AN restricting; 1,445 AN binge-purge) were performed. No findings reached genome-wide significance. Two intronic variants were suggestively associated: rs9839776 (P=3.01×10-7) in SOX2OT and rs17030795 (P=5.84×10-6) in PPP3CA. Two additional signals were specific to Europeans: rs1523921 (P=5.76×10-6) between CUL3 and FAM124B and rs1886797 (P=8.05×10-6) near SPATA13. Comparing discovery to replication results, 76% of the effects were in the same direction, an observation highly unlikely to be due to chance (P=4×10-6), strongly suggesting that true findings exist but that our sample, the largest yet reported, was underpowered for their detection. The accrual of large genotyped AN case-control samples should be an immediate priority for the field.
anorexia nervosa; eating disorders; GWAS; genome-wide association study; body mass index; metabolic
A large number of unwanted adverse events and symptoms reported by patients in clinical trials are not caused by the drug provided, since most of adverse events also occur in corresponding placebo groups. These nocebo effects also play a major role in drug discontinuation in clinical practice, negatively affecting treatment efficacy as well as patient adherence and compliance. Experimental and clinical data document a large interindividual variability in nocebo responses, however, data on psychological, biological or genetic predictors of nocebo responses are lacking. Thus, with an established paradigm of behaviorally conditioned immunosuppressive effects we analyzed possible genetic predictors for nocebo responses. We focused on the genetic polymorphisms in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene (Val158Met) and analyzed drug specific and general side effects before and after immunosuppressive medication and subsequent placebo intake in 62 healthy male subjects. Significantly more drug-specific as well as general side effects were reported from homozygous carriers of the Val158 variant during medication as well as placebo treatment compared to the other genotype groups. Val158/Val158 carriers also had significantly higher scores in the somatosensory amplification scale (SSAS) and the BMQ (beliefs about medicine questionnaire). Together these data demonstrate potential genetic and psychological variables predicting nocebo responses after drug and placebo intake, which might be utilized to minimize nocebo effects in clinical trials and medical practice.
Heritability estimates for body mass index (BMI) variation are high. For mothers and their offspring higher BMI correlations have been described than for fathers. Variation(s) in the exclusively maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) might contribute to this parental effect. Thirty-two to 40 mtDNA single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were available from genome-wide association study SNP arrays (Affymetrix 6.0). For discovery, we analyzed association in a case-control (CC) sample of 1,158 extremely obese children and adolescents and 435 lean adult controls. For independent confirmation, 7,014 population-based adults were analyzed as CC sample of n = 1,697 obese cases (BMI≥30 kg/m2) and n = 2,373 normal weight and lean controls (BMI<25 kg/m2). SNPs were analyzed as single SNPs and haplogroups determined by HaploGrep. Fisher's two-sided exact test was used for association testing. Moreover, the D-loop was re-sequenced (Sanger) in 192 extremely obese children and adolescents and 192 lean adult controls. Association testing of detected variants was performed using Fisher's two-sided exact test. For discovery, nominal association with obesity was found for the frequent allele G of m.8994G/A (rs28358887, p = 0.002) located in ATP6. Haplogroup W was nominally overrepresented in the controls (p = 0.039). These findings could not be confirmed independently. For two of the 252 identified D-loop variants nominal association was detected (m.16292C/T, p = 0.007, m.16189T/C, p = 0.048). Only eight controls carried the m.16292T allele, five of whom belonged to haplogroup W that was initially enriched among these controls. m.16189T/C might create an uninterrupted poly-C tract located near a regulatory element involved in replication of mtDNA. Though follow-up of some D-loop variants still is conceivable, our hypothesis of a contribution of variation in the exclusively maternally inherited mtDNA to the observed larger correlations for BMI between mothers and their offspring could not be substantiated by the findings of the present study.
Approaches exploiting extremes of the trait distribution may reveal novel loci for common traits, but it is unknown whether such loci are generalizable to the general population. In a genome-wide search for loci associated with upper vs. lower 5th percentiles of body mass index, height and waist-hip ratio, as well as clinical classes of obesity including up to 263,407 European individuals, we identified four new loci (IGFBP4, H6PD, RSRC1, PPP2R2A) influencing height detected in the tails and seven new loci (HNF4G, RPTOR, GNAT2, MRPS33P4, ADCY9, HS6ST3, ZZZ3) for clinical classes of obesity. Further, we show that there is large overlap in terms of genetic structure and distribution of variants between traits based on extremes and the general population and little etiologic heterogeneity between obesity subgroups.
Uncoupling protein (UCP) 3 is a mitochondrial inner membrane protein implicated in lipid handling and metabolism of reactive oxygen species. Its transcription is mainly regulated by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR), a family of nuclear hormone receptors. Employing bandshift assays, RNA interference and reporter gene assays we examine an intronic region in the UCP3 gene harboring a cis-element essential for expression in brown adipocytes. We demonstrate binding of SP1 and SP3 to this element which is adjacent to a direct repeat 1 element mediating activation of UCP3 expression by PPARγ agonists. Transactivation mediated by these elements is interdependent and indispensable for UCP3 expression. Systematic deletion uncovered a third binding element, a putative NF1 site, in close proximity to the SP1/3 and PPARγ binding elements. Data mining demonstrated binding of MyoD and Myogenin to this third element in C2C12 cells, and, furthermore, revealed recruitment of p300. Taken together, this intronic region is the main enhancer driving UCP3 expression with SP1/3 and PPARγ as the core factors required for expression.
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a complex and heritable eating disorder characterized by dangerously low body weight. Neither candidate gene studies nor an initial genome wide association study (GWAS) have yielded significant and replicated results. We performed a GWAS in 2,907 cases with AN from 14 countries (15 sites) and 14,860 ancestrally matched controls as part of the Genetic Consortium for AN (GCAN) and the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 3 (WTCCC3). Individual association analyses were conducted in each stratum and meta-analyzed across all 15 discovery datasets. Seventy-six (72 independent) SNPs were taken forward for in silico (two datasets) or de novo (13 datasets) replication genotyping in 2,677 independent AN cases and 8,629 European ancestry controls along with 458 AN cases and 421 controls from Japan. The final global meta-analysis across discovery and replication datasets comprised 5,551 AN cases and 21,080 controls. AN subtype analyses (1,606 AN restricting; 1,445 AN binge-purge) were performed. No findings reached genome-wide significance. Two intronic variants were suggestively associated: rs9839776 (P=3.01×10−7) in SOX2OT and rs17030795 (P=5.84×10−6) in PPP3CA. Two additional signals were specific to Europeans: rs1523921 (P=5.76×10−6) between CUL3 and FAM124B and rs1886797 (P=8.05×10−6) near SPATA13. Comparing discovery to replication results, 76% of the effects were in the same direction, an observation highly unlikely to be due to chance (P= 4×10−6), strongly suggesting that true findings exist but that our sample, the largest yet reported, was underpowered for their detection. The accrual of large genotyped AN case-control samples should be an immediate priority for the field.
anorexia nervosa; eating disorders; GWAS; genome-wide association study; body mass index; metabolic
Dopamine receptors are involved in midbrain reward circuit activation. Polymorphisms in two dopamine receptor genes, DRD2 and DRD4, have been associated with altered perception of food reward and weight gain. The objective of this study was to determine whether the same risk alleles were associated with overweight/obesity and with lower reduction of overweight after a 1-year lifestyle intervention.
In a longitudinal study the association of polymorphisms in DRD2 (rs18000497, risk allele: T, formerly A1 allele at the TaqI A1 polymorphism) and DRD4 (variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR); 48 bp repeat in exon III; risk alleles: 7 repeats or longer: 7R+) was tested on weight loss success following a 1-year lifestyle childhood obesity intervention (OBELDICKS). An additional exploratory cross-sectional case-control study was performed to compare the same DRD polymorphisms in these overweight/obese children and adolescents versus lean adult controls. Subjects were 423 obese and 28 overweight children participating in lifestyle intervention (203 males), age median 12.0 (interquartile range 10.0–13.7) years, body mass index - standard deviation score (BMI-SDS) 2.4 ± 0.5; 583 lean adults (232 males); age median 25.3 (interquartile range 22.5–26.8) years, BMI 19.1 ± 1.9 kg/m2. BMI, BMI-SDS and skinfold thickness measures were assessed at baseline and after 1 year; genotyping was performed for DRD2 risk variant rs1800497 and DRD4 exon III VNTR.
The DRD2 genotype had a nominal effect on success in the weight loss intervention. The weakest BMI-SDS reduction was in children homozygous for two rs1800497 T-alleles (n = 11) compared to the combined group with zero (n = 308) or one (n = 132) rs1800497 T-allele (-0.08 ± 0.36 vs. -0.28 ± 0.34; p < 0.05). There was no association between the DRD4 VNTR alleles and genotypes and success in the weight loss intervention. No associations of the risk alleles of the DRD2 and DRD4 polymorphisms and obesity were observed in the cross-sectional part of the study.
We did not find association between polymorphisms in DRD2 and DRD4 genes and weight status. However, obese carriers of two DRD2 rs1800497 T-alleles may be at risk for weak responses to lifestyle interventions aimed at weight reduction.
Obesity intervention program “Obeldicks” is registered at clinicaltrials.gov (NCT00435734).
Dopamine receptor polymorphisms; Obesity; Lifestyle intervention; Weight reduction
There are hints of an altered mitochondrial function in obesity. Nuclear-encoded genes are relevant for mitochondrial function (3 gene sets of known relevant pathways: (1) 16 nuclear regulators of mitochondrial genes, (2) 91 genes for oxidative phosphorylation and (3) 966 nuclear-encoded mitochondrial genes). Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) showed no association with type 2 diabetes mellitus in these gene sets. Here we performed a GSEA for the same gene sets for obesity. Genome wide association study (GWAS) data from a case-control approach on 453 extremely obese children and adolescents and 435 lean adult controls were used for GSEA. For independent confirmation, we analyzed 705 obesity GWAS trios (extremely obese child and both biological parents) and a population-based GWAS sample (KORA F4, n = 1,743). A meta-analysis was performed on all three samples. In each sample, the distribution of significance levels between the respective gene set and those of all genes was compared using the leading-edge-fraction-comparison test (cut-offs between the 50th and 95th percentile of the set of all gene-wise corrected p-values) as implemented in the MAGENTA software. In the case-control sample, significant enrichment of associations with obesity was observed above the 50th percentile for the set of the 16 nuclear regulators of mitochondrial genes (pGSEA,50 = 0.0103). This finding was not confirmed in the trios (pGSEA,50 = 0.5991), but in KORA (pGSEA,50 = 0.0398). The meta-analysis again indicated a trend for enrichment (pMAGENTA,50 = 0.1052, pMAGENTA,75 = 0.0251). The GSEA revealed that weak association signals for obesity might be enriched in the gene set of 16 nuclear regulators of mitochondrial genes.
The SH2B1 gene (Src-homology 2B adaptor protein 1 gene) is a solid candidate gene for obesity. Large scale GWAS studies depicted markers in the vicinity of the gene; animal models suggest a potential relevance for human body weight regulation.
We performed a mutation screen for variants in the SH2B1 coding sequence in 95 extremely obese children and adolescents. Detected variants were genotyped in independent childhood and adult study groups (up to 11,406 obese or overweight individuals and 4,568 controls). Functional implications on STAT3 mediated leptin signalling of the detected variants were analyzed in vitro.
We identified two new rare mutations and five known SNPs (rs147094247, rs7498665, rs60604881, rs62037368 and rs62037369) in SH2B1. Mutation g.9483C/T leads to a non-synonymous, non-conservative exchange in the beta (βThr656Ile) and gamma (γPro674Ser) splice variants of SH2B1. It was additionally detected in two of 11,206 (extremely) obese or overweight children, adolescents and adults, but not in 4,506 population-based normal-weight or lean controls. The non-coding mutation g.10182C/A at the 3’ end of SH2B1 was only detected in three obese individuals. For the non-synonymous SNP rs7498665 (Thr484Ala) we observed nominal over-transmission of the previously described risk allele in 705 obesity trios (nominal p = 0.009, OR = 1.23) and an increased frequency of the same allele in 359 cases compared to 429 controls (nominal p = 0.042, OR = 1.23). The obesity risk-alleles at Thr484Ala and βThr656Ile/γPro674Ser had no effect on STAT3 mediated leptin receptor signalling in splice variants β and γ.
The rare coding mutation βThr656Ile/γPro674Ser (g.9483C/T) in SH2B1 was exclusively detected in overweight or obese individuals. Functional analyzes did not reveal impairments in leptin signalling for the mutated SH2B1.
SH2B1; Obesity; BMI; rs7498665; Mutation screen
Multiple genetic variants have been associated with adult obesity and a few with severe obesity in childhood; however, less progress has been made to establish genetic influences on common early-onset obesity. We performed a North American-Australian-European collaborative meta-analysis of fourteen studies consisting of 5,530 cases (≥95th percentile of body mass index (BMI)) and 8,318 controls (<50th percentile of BMI) of European ancestry. Taking forward the eight novel signals yielding association with P < 5×10−6 in to nine independent datasets (n = 2,818 cases and 4,083 controls) we observed two loci that yielded a genome wide significant combined P-value, namely near OLFM4 on 13q14 (rs9568856; P=1.82×10−9; OR=1.22) and within HOXB5 on 17q21 (rs9299; P=3.54×10−9; OR=1.14). Both loci continued to show association when including two extreme childhood obesity cohorts (n = 2,214 cases and 2,674 controls). Finally, these two loci yielded directionally consistent associations in the GIANT meta-analysis of adult BMI1.
Doublecortin and calmodulin like kinase 1 (DCLK1) is implicated in synaptic plasticity and neurodevelopment. Genetic variants in DCLK1 are associated with cognitive traits, specifically verbal memory and general cognition. We investigated the role of DCLK1 variants in three psychiatric disorders that have neuro-cognitive dysfunctions: schizophrenia (SCZ), bipolar affective disorder (BP) and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We mined six genome wide association studies (GWASs) that were available publically or through collaboration; three for BP, two for SCZ and one for ADHD. We also genotyped the DCLK1 region in additional samples of cases with SCZ, BP or ADHD and controls that had not been whole-genome typed. In total, 9895 subjects were analysed, including 5308 normal controls and 4,587 patients (1,125 with SCZ, 2,496 with BP and 966 with ADHD). Several DCLK1 variants were associated with disease phenotypes in the different samples. The main effect was observed for rs7989807 in intron 3, which was strongly associated with SCZ alone and even more so when cases with SCZ and ADHD were combined (P-value = 4×10−5 and 4×10−6, respectively). Associations were also observed with additional markers in intron 3 (combination of SCZ, ADHD and BP), intron 19 (SCZ+BP) and the 3′UTR (SCZ+BP). Our results suggest that genetic variants in DCLK1 are associated with SCZ and, to a lesser extent, with ADHD and BP. Interestingly the association is strongest when SCZ and ADHD are considered together, suggesting common genetic susceptibility. Given that DCLK1 variants were previously found to be associated with cognitive traits, these results are consistent with the role of DCLK1 in neurodevelopment and synaptic plasticity.
Data from meta-analyses of genome-wide association studies provided evidence for an association of polymorphisms with body mass index (BMI), and gene expression results indicated a role of these variants in the hypothalamus. It was consecutively hypothesized that these associations might be evoked by a modulation of nutritional intake or energy expenditure.
It was our aim to investigate the association of these genetic factors with BMI in a large homogenous population-based sample to explore the association of these polymorphisms with lifestyle factors related to nutritional intake or energy expenditure, and whether such lifestyle factors could be mediators of the detected single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-association with BMI. It was a further aim to compare the proportion of BMI explained by genetic factors with the one explained by lifestyle factors.
The association of seven polymorphisms in or near the genes NEGR1, TMEM18, MTCH2, FTO, MC4R, SH2B1and KCTD15 was analyzed in 12 462 subjects from the population-based MONICA/KORA Augsburg study. Information on lifestyle factors was based on standardized questionnaires. For statistical analysis, regression-based models were used.
The minor allele of polymorphism rs6548238 C>T (TMEM18) was associated with lower BMI (−0.418 kg/m2, p=1.22×10−8), and of polymorphisms rs9935401 G>A (FTO) and rs7498665 A>G (SH2B1) with increased BMI (0.290 kg/m2, p=2.85×10−7 and 0.145 kg/m2, p=9.83×10−3). The other polymorphisms were not significantly associated. Lifestyle factors were correlated with BMI and explained 0.037 % of the BMI variance as compared to 0.006 % of explained variance by the associated genetic factors. The genetic variants associated with BMI were not significantly associated with lifestyle factors and there was no evidence of lifestyle factors mediating the SNP-BMI association.
Our data first confirm the findings for TMEM18 with BMI in a single study on adults and also confirm the findings for FTO and SH2B1. There was no evidence for a direct SNP-lifestyle association.
TMEM18; FTO; SH2B1; lifestyle; obesity
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a highly heritable young-onset psychiatric illness the etiology of which remains unknown. Estrogen alpha and beta receptors, encoded by ESR1 and ESR2 genes, are involved in food intake regulation and eating behavior, and may have a potential role in AN. We performed a family-based association study of 17 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) encompassing ESR1 and ESR2 genes in a cohort of 321 French AN families. We attempted to replicate this finding in a cohort of 41 restrictive AN (RAN) families and in a population-based study of 693 young women. Using the transmission disequilibrium test, a significant over-transmission was detected between AN and ESR1 rs726281 and rs2295193. These SNPs and another among ESR1 were more specifically associated with the RAN subtype (rs726281, p=0.005, odds ratio (OR)=2.1, 95% confidence interval (95% CI)=1.2–3.6; rs3798577, p=0.021, OR=1.6, 95% CI=1.1–2.3; and rs2295193, p=0.007, OR=1.7, 95% CI=1.2–2.5). A large eight-SNPs haplotype of ESR1 gene was also associated with AN (p<0.0001, OR=3.1, 95% CI=1.8–5.1). Association of ESR1 SNPs and RAN was driven by paternal over-transmissions (p<0.0001, OR=3.7, 95% CI=1.9–7.3). Furthermore, we confirmed the preferential paternal over-transmission of the ESR1 rs726281 on the independent German sample of 41 RAN trios (p=0.025, OR=3, 95% CI=1.1–8.3). Finally, rs3798577 was associated with eating disorders in a population-based sample of 693 women (p<0.01). Our findings are strongly in favor of an association between ESR1 polymorphisms and AN. In particular, ESR1 gene confers a high risk of vulnerability to the restrictive subtype of AN, and suggests that the estrogen pathway has to be further analyzed in AN.
anorexia nervosa; restrictive type; binge-eating/purging type; estrogen receptors; transmission disequilibrium test; population-based sample; Eating / Metabolic Disorders; Neurogenetics; Biological Psychiatry; Molecular & Cellular Neurobiology; Anorexia nervosa; estrogen receptors; restrictive type; binge-eating / purging type; transmission disequilibrium test; population-based sample
Obesity is globally prevalent and highly heritable, but the underlying
genetic factors remain largely elusive. To identify genetic loci for
obesity-susceptibility, we examined associations between body mass index (BMI)
and ~2.8 million SNPs in up to 123,865 individuals, with targeted follow-up of
42 SNPs in up to 125,931 additional individuals. We confirmed 14 known
obesity-susceptibility loci and identified 18 new loci associated with BMI
(P<5×10−8), one of which
includes a copy number variant near GPRC5B. Some loci
(MC4R, POMC, SH2B1, BDNF) map near key hypothalamic
regulators of energy balance, and one is near GIPR, an incretin
receptor. Furthermore, genes in other newly-associated loci may provide novel
insights into human body weight regulation.
Heritability of obesity is substantial and recent meta-analyses of genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have been successful in detecting several robustly associated genomic regions for obesity using single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). However, taken together, the SNPs explain only a small proportion of the overall heritability. Copy number variations (CNVs) might contribute to the ‘missing heritability’. We searched genome-wide for association between common CNVs and early-onset extreme obesity. Four hundred and twenty-four case-parents obesity trios and an independent sample of 453 extremely obese children and adolescents and 435 normal-weight and lean adult controls were genotyped by the Affymetrix Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 6.0. We detected 20 common copy number variable regions (CNVRs) which were associated with obesity. The most promising CNVRs were followed-up in an independent sample of 365 obesity trios, confirming the association for two candidate CNVRs. We identified a common CNVR exclusively covering the three olfactory receptor genes OR4P4, OR4S2 and OR4C6 to be associated with obesity (combined P-value = 0.015 in a total of 789 families; odds ratio for the obesity effect allele = 1.19; 95% confidence interval = 1.016–1.394). We also replicated two common deletions (near NEGR1 and at chromosome 10q11.22) that have previously been reported to be associated with body weight. Additionally, we support a rare CNV on chromosome 16 that has recently been reported by two independent groups. However, rare CNVs had not been the focus of our study. We conclude that common CNVs are unlikely to contribute substantially to the genetic basis of early-onset extreme obesity.
Independent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) showed an obesogenic effect of two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP; rs12970134 and rs17782313) more than 150 kb downstream of the melanocortin 4 receptor gene (MC4R). It is unclear if the SNPs directly influence MC4R function or expression, or if the SNPs are on a haplotype that predisposes to obesity or includes functionally relevant genetic variation (synthetic association). As both exist, functionally relevant mutations and polymorphisms in the MC4R coding region and a robust association downstream of the gene, MC4R is an ideal model to explore synthetic association.
We analyzed a genomic region (364.9 kb) encompassing the MC4R in GWAS data of 424 obesity trios (extremely obese child/adolescent and both parents). SNP rs12970134 showed the lowest p-value (p = 0.004; relative risk for the obesity effect allele: 1.37); conditional analyses on this SNP revealed that 7 of 78 analyzed SNPs provided independent signals (p≤0.05). These 8 SNPs were used to derive two-marker haplotypes. The three best (according to p-value) haplotype combinations were chosen for confirmation in 363 independent obesity trios. The confirmed obesity effect haplotype includes SNPs 3′ and 5′ of the MC4R. Including MC4R coding variants in a joint model had almost no impact on the effect size estimators expected under synthetic association.
A haplotype reaching from a region 5′ of the MC4R to a region at least 150 kb from the 3′ end of the gene showed a stronger association to obesity than single SNPs. Synthetic association analyses revealed that MC4R coding variants had almost no impact on the association signal. Carriers of the haplotype should be enriched for relevant mutations outside the MC4R coding region and could thus be used for re-sequencing approaches. Our data also underscore the problems underlying the identification of relevant mutations depicted by GWAS derived SNPs.
Genetic contribution to the development of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is well established. Seven independent genome-wide linkage scans have been performed to map loci that increase the risk for ADHD. Although significant linkage signals were identified in some of the studies, there has been limited replications between the various independent datasets. The current study gathered the results from all seven of the ADHD linkage scans and performed a Genome Scan Meta Analysis (GSMA) to identify the genomic region with most consistent linkage evidence across the studies. Genome-wide significant linkage (PSR=0.00034, POR=0.04) was identified on chromosome 16 between 64 and 83 Mb. In addition there are nine other genomic regions from the GSMA showing nominal or suggestive evidence of linkage. All these linkage results may be informative and focus the search for novel ADHD susceptibility genes.
ADHD; GSMA; linkage
Meta-analyses of population-based genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in adults have recently led to the detection of new genetic loci for obesity. Here we aimed to discover additional obesity loci in extremely obese children and adolescents. We also investigated if these results generalize by estimating the effects of these obesity loci in adults and in population-based samples including both children and adults. We jointly analysed two GWAS of 2,258 individuals and followed-up the best, according to lowest p-values, 44 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) from 21 genomic regions in 3,141 individuals. After this DISCOVERY step, we explored if the findings derived from the extremely obese children and adolescents (10 SNPs from 5 genomic regions) generalized to (i) the population level and (ii) to adults by genotyping another 31,182 individuals (GENERALIZATION step). Apart from previously identified FTO, MC4R, and TMEM18, we detected two new loci for obesity: one in SDCCAG8 (serologically defined colon cancer antigen 8 gene; p = 1.85×10−8 in the DISCOVERY step) and one between TNKS (tankyrase, TRF1-interacting ankyrin-related ADP-ribose polymerase gene) and MSRA (methionine sulfoxide reductase A gene; p = 4.84×10−7), the latter finding being limited to children and adolescents as demonstrated in the GENERALIZATION step. The odds ratios for early-onset obesity were estimated at ∼1.10 per risk allele for both loci. Interestingly, the TNKS/MSRA locus has recently been found to be associated with adult waist circumference. In summary, we have completed a meta-analysis of two GWAS which both focus on extremely obese children and adolescents and replicated our findings in a large followed-up data set. We observed that genetic variants in or near FTO, MC4R, TMEM18, SDCCAG8, and TNKS/MSRA were robustly associated with early-onset obesity. We conclude that the currently known major common variants related to obesity overlap to a substantial degree between children and adults.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have successfully contributed to the detection of genetic variants involved in body-weight regulation. We jointly analysed two GWAS for early-onset extreme obesity in 2,258 individuals of European origin and followed-up the findings in 3,141 individuals. Evidence for association of markers in two new genetic loci was shown (SDCCAG8 on chromosome 1q43–q44 and between TNKS/MSRA on chromosome 8p23.1). We also re-identified variants in or near FTO, MC4R, and TMEM18 to be associated with extreme obesity. In addition, we assessed the effect of the markers in 31,182 obese, lean, normal weight, and unselected individuals from population-based samples and showed that the variants near FTO, MC4R, TMEM18, and SDCCAG8 were consistently associated with obesity. For variants of TNKS/MSRA, the obesity association was limited to children and adolescents. In summary, we detected two new obesity loci and confirmed that the currently known major common variants related to obesity overlap to a substantial degree between children and adults.
The heritability of obesity and body weight in general is high. A small number of confirmed monogenic forms of obesity—the respective mutations are sufficient by themselves to cause the condition in food abundant societies—have been identified by molecular genetic studies. The elucidation of these genes, mostly based on animal and family studies, has led to the identification of important pathways to the disorder and thus to a deeper understanding of the regulation of body weight. The identification of inborn deficiency of the mostly adipocyte-derived satiety hormone leptin in extremely obese children from consanguineous families paved the way to the first pharmacological therapy for obesity based on a molecular genetic finding. The genetic predisposition to obesity for most individuals, however, has a polygenic basis. A polygenic variant by itself has a small effect on the phenotype; only in combination with other predisposing variants does a sizeable phenotypic effect arise. Common variants in the first intron of the ‘fat mass and obesity associated’ gene (FTO) result in an elevated body mass index (BMI) equivalent to approximately +0.4 kg/m² per risk allele. The FTO variants were originally detected in a genome wide association study (GWAS) pertaining to type 2 diabetes mellitus. Large meta-analyses of GWAS have subsequently identified additional polygenic variants. Up to December 2009, polygenic variants have been confirmed in a total of 17 independent genomic regions. Further study of genetic effects on human body weight regulation should detect variants that will explain a larger proportion of the heritability. The development of new strategies for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of obesity can be anticipated.
Heritability; Genome wide
The polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a common endocrine disorder in women of child-bearing age, mainly characterised by chronic anovulation and hyperandrogenism, is often associated with insulin resistance (IR) and obesity. Its etiology and the role of IR and obesity in PCOS are not fully understood. We examined the influence of validated genetic variants conferring susceptibility to obesity and/or type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) on metabolic and PCOS-specific traits in patients with PCOS.
We conducted an association study in 386 patients with PCOS (defined by the Rotterdam-criteria) using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in or in proximity to the fat mass and obesity associated gene (FTO), insulin-induced gene-2 (INSIG2), transcription factor 7-like 2 gene (TCF7L2) and melanocortin 4 receptor gene (MC4R). To compare the effect of FTO obesity risk alleles on BMI in patients with PCOS to unselected females of the same age range we genotyped 1,971 females from the population-based KORA-S4 study (Kooperative Gesundheitsforschung im Raum Augsburg, Survey 4).
The FTO risk allele was associated with IR traits and measures of increased body weight. In addition, the TCF7L2 SNP was associated with body weight traits. For the SNPs in the vicinity of INSIG2 and MC4R and for the other examined phenotypes there was no evidence for an association. In PCOS the observed per risk allele effect of FTO intron 1 SNP rs9939609 on BMI was +1.56 kg/m2, whereas it was +0.46 kg/m2 in females of the same age range from the general population as shown previously.
The stronger effect on body weight of the FTO SNP in PCOS might well have implications for the etiology of the disease.
The orexigenic effects of cannabinoids are limited by activation of the endocannabinoid degrading enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). The aim of this study was to analyse whether FAAH alleles are associated with early and late onset obesity.
We initially assessed association of five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in FAAH with early onset extreme obesity in up to 521 German obese children and both parents. SNPs with nominal p-values ≤ 0.1 were subsequently analysed in 235 independent German obesity families. SNPs associated with childhood obesity (p-values ≤ 0.05) were further analysed in 8,491 adult individuals of a population-based cohort (KORA) for association with adult obesity. One SNP was further analysed in 985 German obese adults and 588 normal and underweight controls. In parallel, we screened the FAAH coding region for novel sequence variants in 92 extremely obese children using single-stranded-conformation-polymorphism-analysis and denaturing HPLC and assessed the implication of the identified new variants for childhood obesity.
The trio analysis revealed some evidence for an association of three SNPs in FAAH (rs324420 rs324419 and rs873978) with childhood obesity (two-sided p-values between 0.06 and 0.10). Although analyses of these variants in 235 independent obesity families did not result in statistically significant effects (two-sided p-values between 0.14 and 0.75), the combined analysis of all 603 obesity families supported the idea of an association of two SNPs in FAAH (rs324420 and rs2295632) with early onset extreme obesity (p-values between 0.02 and 0.03). No association was, however, found between these variants and adult obesity. The mutation screen revealed four novel variants, which were not associated with early onset obesity (p > 0.05).
As we observed some evidence for an association of the FAAH variants rs2295632 rs324420 with early onset but not adult obesity, we conclude that the FAAH variants analyzed here at least do not seem to play a major role in the etiology of obesity within our samples.
Anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) are complex disorders characterized by disordered eating behavior where the patient’s attitude towards weight and shape, as well as their perception of body shape, are disturbed. Formal genetic studies on twins and families suggested a substantial genetic influence for AN and BN. Candidate gene studies have initially focused on the serotonergic and other central neurotransmitter systems and on genes involved in body weight regulation. Hardly any of the positive findings achieved in these studies were unequivocally confirmed or substantiated in meta-analyses. This might be due to too small sample sizes and thus low power and/or the genes underlying eating disorders have not yet been analyzed. However, some studies that also used subphenotypes (e.g., restricting type of AN) led to more specific results; however, confirmation is as yet mostly lacking. Systematic genome-wide linkage scans based on families with at least two individuals with an eating disorder (AN or BN) revealed initial linkage regions on chromosomes 1, 3 and 4 (AN) and 10p (BN). Analyses on candidate genes in the chromosome 1 linkage region led to the (as yet unconfirmed) identification of certain variants associated with AN. Genome-wide association studies are under way and will presumably help to identify genes and pathways involved in these eating disorders. The elucidation of the molecular mechanisms underlying eating disorders might improve therapeutic approaches.
5-HT2A receptor gene; Melanocortin 4 receptor gene; GWAS
The INSIG2 rs7566605 polymorphism was identified for obesity (BMI≥30 kg/m2) in one of the first genome-wide association studies, but replications were inconsistent. We collected statistics from 34 studies (n = 74,345), including general population (GP) studies, population-based studies with subjects selected for conditions related to a better health status (‘healthy population’, HP), and obesity studies (OB). We tested five hypotheses to explore potential sources of heterogeneity. The meta-analysis of 27 studies on Caucasian adults (n = 66,213) combining the different study designs did not support overall association of the CC-genotype with obesity, yielding an odds ratio (OR) of 1.05 (p-value = 0.27). The I2 measure of 41% (p-value = 0.015) indicated between-study heterogeneity. Restricting to GP studies resulted in a declined I2 measure of 11% (p-value = 0.33) and an OR of 1.10 (p-value = 0.015). Regarding the five hypotheses, our data showed (a) some difference between GP and HP studies (p-value = 0.012) and (b) an association in extreme comparisons (BMI≥32.5, 35.0, 37.5, 40.0 kg/m2 versus BMI<25 kg/m2) yielding ORs of 1.16, 1.18, 1.22, or 1.27 (p-values 0.001 to 0.003), which was also underscored by significantly increased CC-genotype frequencies across BMI categories (10.4% to 12.5%, p-value for trend = 0.0002). We did not find evidence for differential ORs (c) among studies with higher than average obesity prevalence compared to lower, (d) among studies with BMI assessment after the year 2000 compared to those before, or (e) among studies from older populations compared to younger. Analysis of non-Caucasian adults (n = 4889) or children (n = 3243) yielded ORs of 1.01 (p-value = 0.94) or 1.15 (p-value = 0.22), respectively. There was no evidence for overall association of the rs7566605 polymorphism with obesity. Our data suggested an association with extreme degrees of obesity, and consequently heterogeneous effects from different study designs may mask an underlying association when unaccounted for. The importance of study design might be under-recognized in gene discovery and association replication so far.
A polymorphism of the INSIG2 gene was identified as being associated with obesity in one of the first genome-wide association studies. However, this association has since then been highly debated upon inconsistent subsequent reports. We collected association information from 34 studies including a total of 74,000 participants. In a meta-analysis of the 27 studies including 66,000 Caucasian adults, we found no overall association of this polymorphism rs7566605 with obesity, comparing subjects with a body-mass-index (BMI)≥30 kg/m2 with normal BMI subjects (BMI<30 kg/m2). Our data suggested an association of this polymorphism with extreme obesity (e.g., BMI≥37.5 kg/m2) compared to normal controls. Such an association with extreme obesity might induce heterogeneous effects from different study designs depending on the proportion of extreme obesity included by the design. However, further studies would be required to substantiate this finding. The importance of study design might be under-recognized in gene discovery and association replication so far.
Previous studies have suggested that a variant in the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) gene is important in protecting against common obesity. Larger studies are needed, however, to confirm this relation.
We assessed the association between the V103I polymorphism in the MC4R gene and obesity in three UK population based cohort studies, totalling 8,304 individuals. We also did a meta-analysis of relevant studies, involving 10,975 cases and 18,588 controls, to place our findings in context.
In an analysis of all studies, individuals carrying the isoleucine allele had an 18% (95% CI 4-30%, p=0·015) lower risk of obesity compared with noncarriers. There was no heterogeneity among studies and no apparent publication bias.
This study confirms that the V103I polymorphism protects against human obesity at a population level. As such it provides proof of principle that specific gene variants may, at least in part, explain susceptibility and resistance to common forms of human obesity. A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying this association will help determine whether changes in MC4R activity have therapeutic potential.
To identify common variants influencing body mass index (BMI), we analyzed genome-wide association data from 16,876 individuals of European descent. After previously reported variants in FTO, the strongest association signal (rs17782313, P = 2.9 × 10−6) mapped 188 kb downstream of MC4R (melanocortin-4 receptor), mutations of which are the leading cause of monogenic severe childhood-onset obesity. We confirmed the BMI association in 60,352 adults (per-allele effect = 0.05 Z-score units; P = 2.8 × 10−15) and 5,988 children aged 7–11 (0.13 Z-score units; P = 1.5 × 10−8). In case-control analyses (n = 10,583), the odds for severe childhood obesity reached 1.30 (P = 8.0 × 10−11). Furthermore, we observed overtransmission of the risk allele to obese offspring in 660 families (P (pedigree disequilibrium test average; PDT-avg) = 2.4 × 10−4). The SNP location and patterns of phenotypic associations are consistent with effects mediated through altered MC4R function. Our findings establish that common variants near MC4R influence fat mass, weight and obesity risk at the population level and reinforce the need for large-scale data integration to identify variants influencing continuous biomedical traits.