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Hum Genomics. 2019 Apr 4;13(1):17. doi: 10.1186/s40246-019-0202-x.

Shared genetic underpinnings of childhood obesity and adult cardiometabolic diseases.

Author information

1
Epidemiology Branch, Division of Intramural Population Health Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, 6710B Rockledge Drive, Room 3204, Bethesda, MD, 20892-7004, USA. ayeleft@mail.nih.gov.
2
Epidemiology Branch, Division of Intramural Population Health Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, 6710B Rockledge Drive, Room 3204, Bethesda, MD, 20892-7004, USA.
3
Laboratorio de Endocrinologia Molecular, Hospital Juárez de México, Mexico City, Mexico.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Obesity during childhood can lead to increased risk of adverse cardiometabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease during adult life. Evidence for strong genetic correlations between child and adult body mass index (BMI) suggest the possibility of shared genetic effects. We performed a test for pleiotropy (shared genetics) and functional enrichment of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with childhood BMI and 15 adult cardiometabolic traits using a unified statistical approach that integrates pleiotropy and functional annotation data.

RESULTS:

Pleiotropic genetic effects were significantly abundant in 13 out of 15 childhood BMI-adult cardiometabolic trait tests (P < 3.3 × 10-3). SNPs associated with both childhood BMI and adult traits were more likely to be functionally deleterious than SNPs associated with neither trait. Genetic variants associated with increased childhood obesity tend to increase risk of cardiometabolic diseases in adulthood. We replicated 39 genetic loci that are known to be associated with childhood BMI and adult traits (coronary artery disease, HDL cholesterol, myocardial infarction, triglycerides, total cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, BMI, waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio) in previous genome-wide association studies. We also found a novel association of rs12446632 near GPRC5B, which is highly expressed in adipose tissue and the central nervous system, with adult HDL cholesterol.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study found significant pleiotropic genetic effects and enrichment of functional annotations in genetic variants that were jointly associated with childhood obesity and adult cardiometabolic diseases. The findings provide new avenues to disentangle the genetic basis of life course associations between childhood obesity and adult cardiometabolic diseases.

KEYWORDS:

Cardiometabolic diseases; Childhood obesity; Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DoHAD); Functional loci; Genetic pleiotropy

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