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Neuronal function implicated in obesity risk

Nature Genetics

2008년12월15일

Several new genetic risk factors for obesity have been identified, according to two studies published online this week in Nature Genetics. Most of these genes are expressed in the nervous system, highlighting a role for neuronal control of food intake in regulating weight.

Variation in only two genes has been consistently implicated in susceptibility to common forms of obesity. Joel Hirschhorn and colleagues carried out a ‘meta-analysis’ of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of more than 30,000 individuals and identified six new loci associated with body weight. Each of the candidate genes at these loci is expressed at high levels in the brain and hypothalamus.

In a separate study, Gudmar Thorleifsson and colleagues carried out a GWAS of similar size and identified seven new loci associated with measures of obesity, most of which were also found in the Hirschhorn study.

Although these common variants each contribute only a small amount to variation in body weight, it is possible that rare variants at the same loci will have more significant effects on body weight in some people.

doi: 10.1038/ng.274

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