Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
BMC Med Genet. 2011 Nov 1;12:148. doi: 10.1186/1471-2350-12-148.

Heritability and genome-wide association analysis of renal sinus fat accumulation in the Framingham Heart Study.

Author information

  • 1National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Framingham Heart Study, 73 Mt, Wayte Avenue, Suite 2, Framingham, Massachusetts 01702, USA.



Ectopic fat accumulation in the renal sinus is associated with chronic kidney disease and hypertension. The genetic contributions to renal sinus fat accumulation in humans have not been well characterized.


The present analysis consists of participants from the Framingham Offspring and Third Generation who underwent computed tomography; renal sinus fat and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) were quantified. Renal sinus fat was natural log transformed and sex- and cohort-specific residuals were created, adjusted for (1) age, (2) age and body mass index (BMI), and (3) age and VAT. Residuals were pooled and used to calculate heritability using variance-components analysis in SOLAR. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) for renal sinus fat was performed using an additive model with approximately 2.5 million imputed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Finally, we identified the associations of renal sinus fat in our GWAS results with validated SNPs for renal function (n=16), BMI (n=32), and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR, n=14), and applied a multi-SNP genetic risk score method to determine if the SNPs for each renal and obesity trait were in aggregate associated with renal sinus fat.


The heritability of renal sinus fat was 39% (p<0.0001); results were not materially different after adjustment for BMI (39%) or VAT (40%). No SNPs reached genome-wide significance in our GWAS. In our candidate gene analysis, we observed nominal, direction consistent associations with renal sinus fat for one SNP associated with renal function (p=0.01), two associated with BMI (p<0.03), and two associated with WHR (p<0.03); however, none remained significant after accounting for multiple testing. Finally, we observed that in aggregate, the 32 SNPs associated with BMI were nominally associated with renal sinus fat (multi-SNP genetic risk score p=0.03).


Renal sinus fat is a heritable trait, even after accounting for generalized and abdominal adiposity. This provides support for further research into the genetic determinants of renal sinus fat. While our study was underpowered to detect genome-wide significant loci, our candidate gene BMI risk score results suggest that variability in renal sinus fat may be associated with SNPs previously known to be associated with generalized adiposity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk