Genetic variants associated with adiposity, a measure of body fat percentage, are reported this week in Nature Genetics. Adiposity is a risk factor for common metabolic disorders including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Ruth Loos and colleagues report a meta-analysis of genome-wide association study for adiposity in 36,626 individuals, with replication studies in an additional 39,576 individuals. They identify two genomic regions newly associated with adiposity. The variants at one of these regions, near IRS1, are associated with lower body fat percentage in men, and specifically with lower levels of subcutaneous fat. Notably, the variants near IRS1 that are associated with reduced adiposity have previously been associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. They suggest that the mechanism for the IRS1 association with type 2 diabetes may act through the ability to store subcutaneous fat in men.