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Large-scale studies of the Leu72Met polymorphism of the ghrelin gene in relation to the metabolic syndrome and associated quantitative traits


Søren A. Urhammer, MD, DMSci, Department Endocrinology, Hvidovre University Hospital, Kettegaards Alle 30, DK-2650 Hvidovre, Copenhagen, Denmark. E-mail:


Aim  Recently, low-frequency polymorphisms in the coding region of the ghrelin gene were suggested to be involved in the aetiology of obesity and to modulate glucose-induced insulin secretion in different ethnic study groups. The objective of the present large study was to investigate whether the Leu72Met polymorphism of the ghrelin gene associates with features of the metabolic syndrome (MS) in the Danish population.

Methods  The variant was examined, using PCR-RFLP, in the DanMONICA cohort, a population-based sample of 2413 subjects. The metabolic syndrome was defined using the National Cholesterol Education Program-Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP-ATPIII) criteria.

Results  The allelic frequency of the Met72 allele was 8.6%[6.3–10.9%] in the MS group and 7.8%[7.0–8.6%] among subjects classified as not having the MS (NS). Similarly, there were no significant differences across the three groups of genotypes with respect to any of the examined variables, including BMI, waist circumference, fasting serum lipids, plasma glucose, serum insulin and HOMA estimates of insulin resistance and insulin secretion

Conclusion  In conclusion, the Leu72Met polymorphism of the ghrelin gene is not associated with the metabolic syndrome or related quantitative traits in the Danish population.