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Front Genet. 2015 Feb 13;6:26. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2015.00026. eCollection 2015.

Shared genetic variance between obesity and white matter integrity in Mexican Americans.

Author information

1
Department of Family Medicine, Madigan Army Medical Center Tacoma, WA, USA ; Department of Psychiatry, Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine Baltimore, MD, USA.
2
Department of Psychiatry, Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine Baltimore, MD, USA ; Department of Physics, University of Maryland Baltimore, MD, USA ; South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio San Antonio, TX, USA.
3
Department of Psychiatry, Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine Baltimore, MD, USA.
4
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University New Haven, CT, USA ; Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center, Institute of Living Hartford, CT, USA.
5
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University New Haven, CT, USA ; Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Oxford Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain, University of Oxford Oxford, UK.
6
Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio San Antonio, TX, USA.
7
South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio San Antonio, TX, USA.
8
Research Imaging Institute, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio San Antonio, TX, USA.
9
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University New Haven, CT, USA ; Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center, Institute of Living Hartford, CT, USA ; Research Imaging Institute, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio San Antonio, TX, USA.

Abstract

Obesity is a chronic metabolic disorder that may also lead to reduced white matter integrity, potentially due to shared genetic risk factors. Genetic correlation analyses were conducted in a large cohort of Mexican American families in San Antonio (N = 761, 58% females, ages 18-81 years; 41.3 ± 14.5) from the Genetics of Brain Structure and Function Study. Shared genetic variance was calculated between measures of adiposity [(body mass index (BMI; kg/m(2)) and waist circumference (WC; in)] and whole-brain and regional measurements of cerebral white matter integrity (fractional anisotropy). Whole-brain average and regional fractional anisotropy values for 10 major white matter tracts were calculated from high angular resolution diffusion tensor imaging data (DTI; 1.7 × 1.7 × 3 mm; 55 directions). Additive genetic factors explained intersubject variance in BMI (heritability, h (2) = 0.58), WC (h (2) = 0.57), and FA (h (2) = 0.49). FA shared significant portions of genetic variance with BMI in the genu (ρG = -0.25), body (ρG = -0.30), and splenium (ρG = -0.26) of the corpus callosum, internal capsule (ρG = -0.29), and thalamic radiation (ρG = -0.31) (all p's = 0.043). The strongest evidence of shared variance was between BMI/WC and FA in the superior fronto-occipital fasciculus (ρG = -0.39, p = 0.020; ρG = -0.39, p = 0.030), which highlights region-specific variation in neural correlates of obesity. This may suggest that increase in obesity and reduced white matter integrity share common genetic risk factors.

KEYWORDS:

Mexican American; diffusion tensor imaging; fractional anisotropy; genetics; genotype; obesity; white matter

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