Apolipoprotein C3 (APOC3) is a component of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, and APOC3 rs2854116 and rs2854117 polymorphisms have been associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hypertriglyceridaemia, and insulin-resistance.
To determine if the APOC3 variants alter the susceptibility of obese subjects to develop liver damage, hypertrigliceridaemia, and insulin-resistance.
The study was carried out on 585 unrelated obese Italians (median body mass index BMI = 41 kg/m2) who were genotyped for the rs2854116 and rs2854117 variants. All participants underwent oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTT), with measurement of glucose, insulin, lipid parameters. Indices of insulin-resistance (HOMA and ISI) were calculated. Alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST) were used as markers of liver injury.
The study subjects were divided into two groups: those homozygous for the wild-type alleles at both SNPs (-482C and -455T alleles) and those who were carriers of at least one variant allele or both (-482T, -455C or both). Also each SNP was analysed independently. No significant differences were found in ALT and AST levels and in the lipid profile between the two groups. Insulin concentrations, glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity were similar in the two groups.
We did not identify any significant association between APOC3 polymorphisms and fatty liver disease, lipids, and insulin-resistance in obese subjects, thus not confirming the suggested role of these APOC3 gene sequence variants.