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J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2010 Aug;24(8):930-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2009.03556.x. Epub 2010 Jan 6.

A multilocus candidate approach identifies ACE and HIF1A as susceptibility genes for cellulite.

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  • 1Department of Health Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.



Cellulite is a common complex cosmetic problem for many post-adolescent women characterised by relief alterations of the skin surface, which give the skin an orange-peel appearance. Although genetic factors have been suggested to play a role in the development of cellulite, the genetic background of this condition remains unclear. We therefore conducted a multi-locus genetic study examining the potential associations of candidate gene variants in oestrogen receptors, endothelial function/adipose tissue hypoxia, lipid metabolism, extracellular matrix homeostasis, inflammation and adipose tissue biology, with the risk of cellulite.


Using a case-control study of 200 lean women with cellulite and 200 age- and BMI-matched controls (grade 0 according to Nurnberger-Muller scale), we examined the association of cellulite with 25 polymorphisms in 15 candidate genes.


Two of the 25 polymorphisms were significantly associated with cellulite at the P < 0.01 level. After allowance for age, body mass index, the prevalence of contraceptive use and smoking in logistic regression analysis, the multivariable-adjusted odds ratios for cellulite were 1.19 (95% CI: 1.10-1.51; P < 0.01) for ACE rs1799752 and 0.61 (95% CI: 0.45-0.88, P < 0.01) for HIF1A rs11549465.


This study, which demonstrates an independent role of ACE and HIF1A in predisposing to cellulite, may provide novel information on the pathophysiology of this common cosmetic problem, and offer a topic for research for novel beautification interventions.

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