The Q223R polymorphism in LEPR is associated with obesity in Pacific Islanders
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Various Pacific Island populations have experienced a marked increase in the prevalence of obesity in past decades. This study examined the association of a promoter polymorphism of the leptin gene (LEP), G-2548A (rs7799039), and two non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms of the leptin receptor gene (LEPR), K109R (rs1137100) and Q223R (rs1137101), with body weight, body mass index (BMI) and obesity (BMI ≥ 30) in Pacific Islanders. A total of 745 Austronesian (AN)-speaking participants were analyzed after adjusting for age, gender, and population differences. The results revealed that carriers of the 223Q alleles of LEPR had significantly higher body weight (P = 0.0009) and BMI (P = 0.0022) than non-carriers (i.e., 223R homozygotes); furthermore, the 223Q carriers also had a significantly higher risk of obesity in comparison to non-carriers (P = 0.0222). The other two polymorphisms, G-2548A and K109R, were associated with neither body weight, BMI, nor obesity. The 223Q allele was widely found among the AN-speaking study subjects, thus suggesting that the LEPR Q223R polymorphism is one of the factors contributing to the high prevalence of obesity in the Pacific Island populations.
We would like to sincerely thank the people of the Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Papua New Guinea for their kind approval and support of our research. We are grateful to Dr. Taniela Palu, Diabetes Clinic, Dr. Viliami Tangi, Minister of Health, Kingdom of Tonga, and Prof. Kazumichi Katayama, Kyoto University for their cooperation in the study of the Tongan populations. We also thank the chiefs, elders, and church leaders, especially Sir. Ikan Rove of the Christian Fellowship Church of the Solomon Islands and staff of the National Gizo Hospital and Helena Goldie Hospital, especially Mr. Ricky Eddie, for their help with the surveys in the Solomon Islands. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions regarding this manuscript. This study was financially supported by the KAKENHI Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, Japan.
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