British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Behaviour, Appetite and Obesity

The impact of obesity-related SNP on appetite and energy intake

Anestis Dougkasa1a2 c1, Parveen Yaqooba1, D. Ian Givensa2, Christopher K. Reynoldsa2 and Anne M. Minihanea3

a1 Hugh Sinclair Human Nutrition Group, Food and Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AP, UK

a2 School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AR, UK

a3 Department of Nutrition, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia (UEA), Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK


An increasing number of studies have reported a heritable component for the regulation of energy intake and eating behaviour, although the individual polymorphisms and their ‘effect size’ are not fully elucidated. The aim of the present study was to examine the relationship between specific SNP and appetite responses and energy intake in overweight men. In a randomised cross-over trial, forty overweight men (age 32 (sd 09) years; BMI 27 (sd 2) kg/m2) attended four sessions 1 week apart and received three isoenergetic and isovolumetric servings of dairy snacks or water (control) in random order. Appetite ratings were determined using visual analogue scales and energy intake at an ad libitum lunch was assessed 90 min after the dairy snacks. Individuals were genotyped for SNP in the fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO), leptin (LEP), leptin receptor (LEPR) genes and a variant near the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) locus. The postprandial fullness rating over the full experiment following intake of the different snacks was 17·2 % (P= 0·026) lower in A carriers compared with TT homozygotes for rs9939609 (FTO, dominant) and 18·6 % (P= 0·020) lower in G carriers compared with AA homozygotes for rs7799039 (LEP, dominant). These observations indicate that FTO and LEP polymorphisms are related to the variation in the feeling of fullness and may play a role in the regulation of food intake. Further studies are required to confirm these initial observations and investigate the ‘penetrance’ of these genotypes in additional population subgroups.

(Received September 20 2012)

(Revised December 04 2012)

(Accepted January 04 2013)

(Online publication February 22 2013)

Key Words:

  • Appetite;
  • Genotype;
  • Fat mass and obesity-associated gene;
  • Leptin;
  • Leptin receptor;
  • Melanocortin-4 receptor


c1 Corresponding author: A. Dougkas, fax +46 46 222 4532, email


  Abbreviations: FTO, fat mass and obesity-associated gene; LEP, leptin gene; LEPR, leptin receptor gene; MC4R, melanocortin-4 receptor gene