Genetics Research

Research Papers

Associations of the FTO rs9939609 variant with discrete body fat depots and dietary intake in a multi-ethnic cohort

SCOTT A. LEARa1 c1, WEI Q. DENGa2, GUILLAUME PARÉa2a3, DIAN C. SULISTYONINGRUMa4, RUTH J. F. LOOSa5 and ANGELA DEVLINa4

a1 Faculty of Health Sciences and Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

a2 Population Genomics Program, Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

a3 Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

a4 Faculty of Medicine and Departments of Pediatrics and Pathology and Lab Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

a5 Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, Addenbrooke's Hospital, CB2 0QQ Cambridge, UK

Summary

The fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) gene has been implicated with obesity and dietary intake predominantly in European populations. We assessed the association between the FTO rs9939609 variant with body fat distribution and dietary intake in a multi-ethnic population. Aboriginal, Chinese, European and South Asian participants living in Canada (n=706) were assessed for body fat and inner-abdominal fat using imaging techniques, dietary intake and genotyped for the FTO rs9939609 variant. Linear regression was used to study the associations between the minor allele of the variant and measures of adiposity and dietary intake. Minor allele frequencies were: Aboriginals (17%), Chinese (17%), Europeans (39%) and South Asians (31%). The rs9939609 variant was associated with intake of dietary macronutrients in Aboriginals and Europeans only. In the total population, there were positive associations between the rs9939609 minor allele and greater fat mass (0·94±0·56 kg, P=0·045), per cent body fat (0·7±0·4%, P=0·031), relative greater subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue (4·9±2·8%, P=0·039) and percent daily calories from fat (0·4±0·2%, P=0·064). Our findings suggest that the FTO rs9939609 minor allele may be associated with dietary intake in adults and is positively associated with regional fat deposition.

(Received July 28 2011)

(Revised October 18 2011)

(Revised October 28 2011)

(Accepted November 02 2011)

Correspondence:

c1 Corresponding author: Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre Campus, 515 West Hastings St., Vancouver V6B 5K3, British Columbia, Canada. Tel: (778) 782-7916. Fax: (604) 806-8590. e-mail: slear@providencehealth.bc.ca

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