Obesity gene linked to hormonal changes that favor energy surplus

A new study from Uppsala University demonstrates that elderly humans carrying a common variant of the fat mass and obesity gene FTO also have a shifted endocrine balance. Low blood concentrations of the satiety hormone leptin and high blood concentrations of the hunger promoting hormone ghrelin makes carriers of the FTO gene put on weight. The findings are published in the journal Diabetes.

In the Prospective Investigation of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors, researchers from Uppsala University and the University of Umeå used data from 985 elderly participants (50% females) with an average age of 70 years to examine whether circulating levels of ghrelin and leptin, measured after an overnight fast, are linked to a common variant of FTO.

"We found that elderly carrying an obesity-susceptible variant of the FTO gene had plasma ghrelin levels that were approximately 9 percent higher than in non-carriers. In contrast, serum levels of the satiety enhancing hormone leptin were roughly 11 percent lower", says Christian Benedict, researcher at Uppsala University.

"The present findings suggest that this FTO variant may facilitate weight gain in humans by shifting the endocrine balance from the satiety toward the hunger promoting hormone ghrelin", says Christian Benedict.

More information: Benedict C et al. Brief communication: The fat mass and obesity-associated gene (FTO) is linked to higher plasma levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and lower serum levels of the satiety hormone leptin in older adults. Diabetes (in press)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Childhood abuse may impair weight-regulating hormones

Mar 20, 2014

Childhood abuse or neglect can lead to long-term hormone impairment that raises the risk of developing obesity, diabetes or other metabolic disorders in adulthood, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's ...

Recommended for you

Economic burden of prediabetes up 74 percent over five years

Nov 20, 2014

The economic burden of diabetes in America continues to climb, exceeding more than $322 billion in excess medical costs and lost productivity in 2012, or more than $1,000 for every American, according to a study being published ...

Gynoid fat resists metabolic risks of obesity

Nov 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—The differences in the developmental profiles of upper-body and lower-body fat depots may explain their opposing associations with obesity-related metabolic disease, according to research published ...

Treating diabetes one meal at a time

Nov 19, 2014

Recent estimates project that as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050. The American Diabetes Association observes November as American Diabetes Month, and this year's theme is America ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.