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Int J Womens Health. 2013 May 20;5:253-9. doi: 10.2147/IJWH.S43935. Print 2013.

Are dopamine-related genotypes risk factors for excessive gestational weight gain?

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Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, ON, Canada ; Department of Paediatrics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada ; School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada ; School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada ; Department of Psychology, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada.



Excessive gestational weight gain is associated with postpartum weight retention and downstream child obesity. Dopamine plays a critical role in the regulation of energy intake and body weight. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between excessive gestational weight gain and dopamine pathway-related polymorphisms, namely the variable nucleotide tandem repeat in the 3'untranslated region (UTR) region of the SLC6A3 (DAT-1) dopamine transporter gene and the 30-base pair variable nucleotide tandem repeat polymorphism of the 5'UTR of the monoamine oxidase-A (MAO-A) gene.


Ninety-three women of mean age 31.7 ± 4.2 years were recruited from the Ottawa and Kingston birth cohort and assessed at 12-20 weeks' gestation. Mean body mass index was 22.7 ± 2.5 kg/m(2). Excessive gestational weight gain was defined according to the 2009 Institute of Medicine guidelines based on body mass index. Genotype analyses were performed using polymerase chain reaction and agarose gel electrophoresis.


There was no relationship between the prevalence or magnitude of excessive gestational weight gain among women with the 3' UTR single nucleotide polymorphism of the DAT-1 gene. However, 70% (19 of 27) of women carrying the MAO-A 4/4 (high activity) allele exceeded recommendations for gestational weight gain compared with 48% (32 of 60) of those with the pooled 3/3, 3/4, and 3/3.5 (low activity) alleles (P < 0.05). Similarly, those with the MAO-A 4/4 allele had significantly greater gestational weight gain than those with the 3/3, 3/4, or 3/3.5 pooled genotypes (19.3 ± 4.1 versus 17.0 ± 5.0 kg, P = 0.03).


Carriers of the 4/4 variants of the MAO-A gene may be at increased risk for excessive gestational weight gain.


dopamine genes; gestational weight gain; monoamine oxidase-A

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