Recapitulation of the Association of the Val66Met Polymorphism of BDNF Gene With BMI in Koreans





Recent evidence suggests that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) regulates food intake and the control of body weight. A common polymorphism in human BDNF, Val66Met (single-nucleotide polymorphism database (dbSNP) no. rs6265), impairs intracellular trafficking, resulting in the reduced secretion of BDNF. Several European studies have indicated that Val66Met is associated with BMI. In this study, we examined the association of the Val66Met polymorphism with BMI in Koreans (n = 20,270) from three independent epidemiological cohorts. All three studies observed a consistent association of this polymorphism with BMI, and their combined analysis demonstrated a robust correlation (β = −0.17 ± 0.03 and P = 5.6 × 10−8). We also examined the effect of smoking on the link between Val66Met and BMI. The association of Val66Met with BMI was statistically significant only in the smoking group, reflecting a possible interaction between smoking and the BDNF polymorphism for BMI. Thus, we have confirmed BDNF as a genetic risk factor for BMI in an Asian population and hypothesize that the Val66Met mutation influences individual differences in BMI. In addition, smoking might interact with BDNF Val66Met to modulate BMI.