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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2009 Jul;17(7):1458-60. doi: 10.1038/oby.2008.672. Epub 2009 Feb 12.

Leptin, insulin, and obesity-related phenotypes: genetic influences on levels and longitudinal changes.

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  • 1Unit of Epidemiology, Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health, Jerusalem, Israel.


This study estimated the genetic and environmental determinants of plasma leptin and insulin levels and of obesity-related phenotypes. Included in this analysis were family members from 80 families living in kibbutz settlements, who participated in two examinations 8-10 years apart. We estimated that polygenes explained 30-50% of the adjusted leptin and insulin levels and 30-70% of the anthropometric phenotypes. This study demonstrated a significant genetic influence on longitudinal changes in leptin and BMI (h(2) = 0.45) and small-to-moderate heritability estimates for changes in insulin and other obesity-related phenotypes. In bivariate genetic analyses, we observed positive genetic correlations between leptin and anthropometric phenotypes, suggesting that shared effects of the same sets of loci account for 20-30% of the additive genetic variance in these pairs of variables. Shared genetic factors also account for 20-25% of the additive genetic variance in insulin-anthropometric pairs of variables.

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