Genetic Variation and Obesity in Australian Women: A Prospective Study Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: A number of candidate genes have been implicated in the pathogenesis of obesity in humans. This study examines associations between longitudinal changes in body mass and composition and the presence of polymorphisms in the beta-3 adrenergic receptor, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, leptin, and leptin receptor (Lepr) in a cohort of Australian women. RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Healthy white Australian women (n = 335) were randomly selected from the Barwon region of Victoria and underwent baseline anthropometry and double-energy X-ray absorptiometry for assessment of body mass and adiposity. These measurements were repeated again at 2-year follow-up. Genomic DNA was extracted and used for polymerase chain reaction-based genotyping of all polymorphisms. RESULTS: The Pro1019Pro Lepr polymorphism was associated with longitudinal increases in body weight (p = 0.02), fat mass (p = 0.05), and body mass index (p = 0.01) in this study, and individuals homozygous for the A allele at this locus had a greater propensity to gain body fat over time. The largest effects on body composition seemed to be in individuals already obese at baseline. Changes in body weight, fat mass, percent body fat, and body mass index over a 2-year period were not associated with genetic variation in the beta-3 adrenergic receptor (Trp64Arg), tumor necrosis factor-alpha promoter, or leptin genes in non-obese or obese women. DISCUSSION: These results suggest that a Lepr polymorphism is involved in the regulation of body mass and adiposity in obese Australian white women, which may have implications for the treatment of obesity in this population.


  • de Silva, Andrea M
  • Walder, Ken R
  • Boyko, Edward J
  • Whitecross, Kate F
  • Nicholson, Geoff
  • Kotowicz, Mark
  • Pasco, Julie
  • Collier, Greg R

publication date

  • December 2001

has subject area