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J Am Soc Nephrol. 1999 Sep;10(9):1921-30.

Worldwide ethnic distribution of the G protein beta3 subunit 825T allele and its association with obesity in Caucasian, Chinese, and Black African individuals.

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  • 1Institute für Pharmakologie, Universitätsklinikum Essen, Germany.


Recently, it was demonstrated that one allele (825T) of the gene encoding the G protein beta3 subunit (GNB3) is associated with hypertension in Germans. This study investigates a possible association with obesity in young male Germans, Chinese, and black South Africans with low, intermediate, and high 825T allele frequencies, respectively. In each of these three distinct cohorts, the 825T allele frequency was increased significantly in overweight (body mass index [BMI] > or =25 kg/m2) and obese individuals (BMI >27 kg/m2) compared to those with normal weight. The 825T allele frequencies in these three BMI groups were, respectively, 29.5, 39.3, and 47.7% in Germans, 46.8, 53.9, and 58.6% in Chinese, and 83.1, 87.7, and 90.9% in South Africans. In each of these three distinct groups, the 825T allele was significantly associated with obesity with odds ratios between 2 and 3. More urban than rural black Africans were overweight despite similar 825T allele frequencies in both populations, which underscores the role of both genetic and environmental factors. BP values in young male whites increased significantly with increasing BMI values but were independent of the C825T polymorphism, suggesting that hypertension associated with the 825T allele could be a consequence of obesity. Genotyping of 5254 individuals from 55 native population samples from Africa, the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Guinea demonstrated highest 825T allele frequencies in black Africans (82%) and intermediate values in east Asians (47%). It is anticipated that high frequencies of the 825T allele in Africans and Asians may contribute to an obesity and hypertension epidemic if Westernization of lifestyles continues.

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