Abstract

Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified multiple risk loci for common obesity (FTO, MC4R, TMEM18, GNPDA2, SH2B1, KCTD15, MTCH2, NEGR1 and PCSK1). Here we extend those studies by examining associations with adiposity and type 2 diabetes in Swedish adults. The nine single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped in 3885 non-diabetic and 1038 diabetic individuals with available measures of height, weight and body mass index (BMI). Adipose mass and distribution were objectively assessed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in a sub-group of non-diabetics (n = 2206). In models with adipose mass traits, BMI or obesity as outcomes, the most strongly associated SNP was FTO rs1121980 (P < 0.001). Five other SNPs (SH2B1 rs7498665, MTCH2 rs4752856, MC4R rs17782313, NEGR1 rs2815752 and GNPDA2 rs10938397) were significantly associated with obesity. To summarize the overall genetic burden, a weighted risk score comprising a subset of SNPs was constructed; those in the top quintile of the score were heavier (+2.6 kg) and had more total (+2.4 kg), gynoid (+191 g) and abdominal (+136 g) adipose tissue than those in the lowest quintile (all P < 0.001). The genetic burden score significantly increased diabetes risk, with those in the highest quintile (n = 193/594 cases/controls) being at 1.55-fold (95% CI 1.21–1.99; P < 0.0001) greater risk of type 2 diabetes than those in the lowest quintile (n = 130/655 cases/controls). In summary, we have statistically replicated six of the previously associated obese-risk loci and our results suggest that the weight-inducing effects of these variants are explained largely by increased adipose accumulation.

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