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Int J Obes (Lond). 2013 Sep;37(9):1204-10. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2012.206. Epub 2012 Dec 11.

A functional SNP upstream of the beta-2 adrenergic receptor gene (ADRB2) is associated with obesity in Oceanic populations.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.



Obesity is a growing health concern in the Oceanic populations. To investigate the genetic factors associated with adult obesity in the Oceanic populations, the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the beta-2 adrenergic receptor (ADRB2) gene with obesity was examined in 694 adults living in Tonga and Solomon Islands.


A screening for variation in 16 Oceanic subjects detected 17 SNPs in the entire region of ADRB2, of which nine SNPs including two non-synonymous ones, rs1042713 (Arg16Gly) and rs1042714 (Gln27Glu), were further genotyped for all subjects. The rs34623097-A allele, at a SNP located upstream of ADRB2, showed the strongest association with risk for obesity in a logistic regression analysis adjusted for age, sex, and population (P=5.6 × 10(-4), odds ratio [OR]=2.5, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.5-4.2). The 27Glu was also significantly associated with obesity in the single-point association analysis (P=0.013, OR=2.0, 95%CI=1.2-3.4); however, this association was no longer significant after adjustment for rs34623097 since these SNPs were in linkage disequilibrium with each other. A copy of the obesity-risk allele, rs34623097-A, led to a 1.6 kg/m(2) increase in body mass index (BMI; defined as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) (P=0.0019). A luciferase reporter assay indicated that rs34623097-A reduced the transcriptional activity of the luciferase reporter gene by approximately 10% compared with rs34623097-G. An electrophoretic mobility shift assay demonstrated that rs34623097 modulated the binding affinity with nuclear factors. An evolutionary analysis implies that a G>A mutation at rs34623097 occurred in the Neandertal genome and then the rs34623097-A allele flowed into the ancestors of present-day humans.


The present results suggest that rs34623097-A, which would lead to lower expression of ADRB2, contributes to the onset of obesity in the Oceanic populations.

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