Linkage and association of candidate obesity genes in Mexican-Americans from Starr County, Texas

Molly Sue Bray, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Obesity and related chronic diseases represent a tremendous public health burden among Mexican Americans, a young and rapidly-expanding population. This study investigated the impact of variation within eight candidate obesity genes, which include leptin (LEP), leptin receptor (LEPR), neuropeptide Y (NPY), NPYY1 receptor (NPYY1), glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), GLP-1 receptor (GLP1R), beta-3 adrenergic receptor (β3AR), and uncoupling protein (UCP1), on variation in human obesity status and/or quantitative traits related to obesity in Mexican Americans from Starr County, Texas. The Trp64Arg polymorphism within β3AR was typed in 820 random individuals and 240 pedigrees (N = 2,044). The Arg allele frequency was significantly greater in obese versus non-obese individuals (0.20 versus 0. 15, respectively). In addition, within the random sample, the Arg allele was associated with significantly greater body weight (p = 0.031) and body mass index (BMI, p = 0.008) than the Trp allele. In the family sample, the Trp64Arg locus was also linked to percent fat (p = 0.045) but not to body weight or BMI. No linkage between obesity, diabetes, hypertension, or gallbladder disease and the Trp64Arg mutation was observed in families using affected sib pair linkage analysis or the transmission disequilibrium test. Microsatellite markers proximate to the remaining seven genes were typed in 302 individuals from 59 families. Sib pair linkage analysis provided evidence for linkage between obesity and NPY within affected sibling pairs (p = 0.042; n = 170 pairs). NPY was also linked to weight (p = 0.020), abdominal circumference (p = 0.031), hip circumference (p = 0.012), DBP (p ≤ 0.005), and a composite measure of body mass/fat (p ≤ 0.048) in all sibling pairs (n = 545 pairs). Additionally, LEP was linked to waist/hip ratio (p ≤ 0.009), total cholesterol (p ≤ 0.030), and HDL cholesterol (p ≤ 0.026), and LEPR was linked to fasting blood glucose (p ≤ 0.018) and DBP (p ≤ 0.003). Subsequent to the linkage analyses, the NPY gene was sequenced and eight variant sites identified. Two variant sites (-880I/D and 69I/D) were typed in a random sample of 914 individuals. The 880I/D variant was significantly associated with waist/hip ratio (p = 0.035) in the entire sample (N = 914) and with BMI (p = 0. 031), abdominal circumference (p = 0.044), and waist/hip ratio (p = 0.041) in a non-obese subsample (BW < 30 kg/m2, n = 594). The 69I/D variant was a rare mutation observed in only one pedigree and was not associated with obesity or body size/mass within this pedigree. Results of this study indicate that variation at or near β3AR, LEP, LEPR, and NPY may exert effects which increase obesity susceptibility and influence obesity-related measures in this population.

Subject Area

Genetics|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Bray, Molly Sue, "Linkage and association of candidate obesity genes in Mexican-Americans from Starr County, Texas" (1998). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9929369.