New research presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Liverpool, UK, shows that while the FTO genetic variation predicts weight gain over 10 years in men, a different variation on the MMP2 gene predicts weight gain in women. The research is by Freek G Bouwman, Nutrition and Toxicology Research, Institute Maastricht (NUTRIM), Maastricht University, Netherlands, and Dr Jolanda Boer, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, the Netherlands, and colleagues.
This study presents the contribution of several gene polymorphisms to the risk for weight gain over a 10 year time period. 4662 subjects were followed over a 10 year period and two groups were selected: a stable weight group (259 people who gained up to 2kg or lost up to 2kg,) and a weight gainers group (237 people who had gained 8 kg or more over 10 years). Starting BMI was between 20-35 kg/m2 and baseline age between 20-45 years. Polymorphisms in ACE, FTO, AKR1C2, TIMP4 and MMP2 were chosen as candidate genes for weight gain. Each has been implicated in previous studies on weight or weight regulation.
In men, the genetic distribution of a particular FTO polymorphism, rs9939609, consistently differed between the weight stable and weight gainers group. Men with a certain mutation of the FTO gene had 87% increased risk for gaining weight compared with those without it. In women the genetic distribution of the MMP2 polymorphism, rs1132896, differed between the weight stable and weight gainers, In women the genetic distribution of the MMP2 polymorphism rs1132896 differed between the weight stable and weight gainers, with women with a particular variation having a 2.5 times increased risk of gaining weight over the 10 year period compared with women without this variation.
It is well known that weight regulation differs in men and women. Probably this relates to differences in male and female hormone levels. These differences may play a role in the different associations observed in this study.
The authors say: “We found that FTO in men and MMP2 in women are predictors for weight gain over a 10 year follow-up period.”
Future studies by this group will seek to establish a genetic risk profile to select people at highest risk of weight gain, who can then be given better guidance of weight regulation. They are also conducting genetic and genomic studies on weight maintenance following weight loss to determine the relevance of genetic variants for those attempting to keep off the lost weight.
Source: European Congress on Obesity (ECO)