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Keywords:

  • Children;
  • FTO;
  • genetic association analysis;
  • obesity;
  • metabolism

Summary

Several studies have reported an association of the intronic single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs9939609 of the fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene with obesity and with a number of obesity-related features. We studied the association of rs9939609 with obesity in 912 obese children and adolescents (426 males and 486 females, mean ± SD age 10.5 ± 3.3 years) and in 543 normal weight subjects. A number of biochemical and clinical parameters was also evaluated in 700 of these patients. In the obese group, mean body mass index standard deviation score (BMI-SDS) was similar between the three genotypes. The A allele was present in 55% of the patients’ and in 43% of controls’ chromosomes. The distribution of heterozygotes was similar between patients and controls (47%), while the distribution of AA homozygotes was significantly higher in patients (31% vs. 20%). Logistic regression analysis on the genotypes yielded a χ2 of 35.5 with an odds ratio of 1.6 (CI = 1.3–1.8), P < 1 × 10−5. None of the clinical and metabolic parameters tested was associated with the genotype. In conclusion, we have confirmed the strong association between FTO and obesity, and shown that only AA homozygotes are predisposed to develop obesity while TT homozygotes might be protected. Finally, we found no association between rs9939609 and a number of obesity-related abnormalities.