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Genetic variation near IRS1 associates with reduced adiposity and an impaired metabolic profile


Genome-wide association studies have identified 32 loci influencing body mass index, but this measure does not distinguish lean from fat mass. To identify adiposity loci, we meta-analyzed associations between 2.5 million SNPs and body fat percentage from 36,626 individuals and followed up the 14 most significant (P < 10−6) independent loci in 39,576 individuals. We confirmed a previously established adiposity locus in FTO (P = 3 × 10−26) and identified two new loci associated with body fat percentage, one near IRS1 (P = 4 × 10−11) and one near SPRY2 (P = 3 × 10−8). Both loci contain genes with potential links to adipocyte physiology. Notably, the body-fat–decreasing allele near IRS1 is associated with decreased IRS1 expression and with an impaired metabolic profile, including an increased visceral to subcutaneous fat ratio, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, risk of diabetes and coronary artery disease and decreased adiponectin levels. Our findings provide new insights into adiposity and insulin resistance.

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Figure 1: Manhattan plot showing the significance of association with body fat percentage for SNPs in the stage 1 meta-analysis of all individuals (n = 36,626).
Figure 2: Regional plot of the loci near IRS1, near SPRY2 and in FTO that reached genome-wide significant evidence for association with body fat percentage.
Figure 3: Association of the body-fat-percentage–decreasing (T) allele of rs2943650 near IRS1 with blood lipids, insulin sensitivity traits, leptin and adiponectin.


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A full list of Acknowledgments appears in the Supplementary Note. Funding was provided by Academy of Finland (10404, 124243, 129680, 129494, 141005 and 213506); Agency for Health Care Policy Research (HS06516); Althingi (the Icelandic Parliament); American Heart Association (10SDG269004); AstraZeneca; Baltimore Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Centers; Biocentrum Helsinki Foundation; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (G20234); British Heart Foundation (PG/07/133/24260, RG/08/008, SP/04/002, SP/07/007/23671); CamStrad; Cancer Research UK; Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors' Chair in Medical Genetics; Centre for Medical Systems Biology (The Netherlands); Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (Lausanne); Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport (196-1962766-2747, 216-1080315-0302 and 309-0061194-2023); Department of Health (UK); Department of Veterans Affairs (USA); Emil and Vera Cornell Foundation; Erasmus Medical Center (Rotterdam); Erasmus University (Rotterdam); European Commission (DG XII, FP7/2007-2013, FP7-KBBE-2010-4-266408, HEALTH-F2-2007-201681, HEALTH-F2-2008-201865-GEFOS, HEALTH-F4-2007-201413, HEALTH-F4-2007-201550, LSHG-CT-2006-018947, LSHG-CT-2006-01947, LSHM-CT-2003-503041, LSHM-CT-2004-512013, QLG1-CT-2001-01252 and QLG2-CT-2002-01254); Finnish Diabetes Foundation; Finnish Diabetes Research Foundation; Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research; Finnish Heart Foundation; Finnish Medical Society; Folkhälsan Research Foundation; Food Standards Agency (UK); Foundation for Life and Health in Finland; German Bündesministerium für Forschung und Technology (01AK803A-H and 01IG07015G); German Federal Ministry of Education and Research; German National Genome Research Network (NGFN-2 and NGFNPlus: 01GS0823); Giorgi-Cavaglieri Foundation; GlaxoSmithKline; Göteborg Medical Society; Gyllenberg Foundation; Health and Safety Executive (UK); Health Care Centers in Vasa, Närpes and Korsholm; Hjartavernd (the Icelandic Heart Association); John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation; Leenaards Foundation; Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München; Lundberg Foundation; Medical Research Council (UK); Men's Associates of Hebrew SeniorLife; Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (Spain) (SAF-2009 and SAF-2008-02073); Ministry for Health, Welfare and Sports (The Netherlands); Ministry of Education (Finland); Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (The Netherlands); Municipal Health Care Center and Hospital in Jakobstad; Municipality of Rotterdam; Närpes Health Care Foundation; National Institute for Health Research (UK); US National Institutes of Health (USA) (AG13196, DK063491, K23-DK080145, M01-RR00425, N01-AG12100, N01-AG62101, N01-AG62103, N01-AG62106, N01-HC15103, N01-HC25195, N01-HC35129, N01-HC45133, N01-HC55222, N01-HC75150, N01-HC85079 through N01-HC85086, P30-DK072488, R01-AG031890-01, R01-AG18728, R01-AG032098-01A1, R01-AR/AG41398, R01-AR046838, R01-DK06833603, R01-DK075787, R01-DK07568102, R01-HL036310-20A2, R01-HL087652, R01-HL08770003, R01-HL088119, U01-HL080295, U01-HL72515 and U01-HL84756); Netherlands Genomics Initiative/Netherlands Consortium for Healthy Aging (050-060-810); Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (175.010.2005.011 and 911-03-012); Netherlands Organization for the Health Research and Development; Nordic Center of Excellence in Disease Genetics; Novo Nordisk Foundation; Ollqvist Foundation; Paavo Nurmi Foundation; Perklén Foundation; Petrus and Augusta Hedlunds Foundation; Research Institute for Diseases in the Elderly (014-93-015; RIDE2); Robert Dawson Evans Endowment; Royal Society (UK); Sahlgrenska Center for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research (A305:188); Sahlgrenska University Hospital Foundation (ALF/LUA); Science Funding programme (UK); Scottish Executive Health Department; Sigrid Juselius Foundation; State of Bavaria; Stroke Association (UK); Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland; Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research; Swedish Research Council (K2010-54X-09894-19-3, K2010-52X-20229-05-3 and 2006-3832); Swedish Strategic Foundation; Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics; Swiss National Science Foundation (3100AO-116323/1, 310000-112552 and 33CSCO-122661); TEKES (1510/31/06); Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg's Foundation; United Kingdom NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre; University of Lausanne; University of Maryland General Clinical Research Center (M01 RR 16500); Uppsala University; Västra Götaland Foundation; and Wellcome Trust (077016/Z/05/Z, 084723/Z/08/Z and 091746/Z/10/Z).

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A full list of author contributions appears in the Supplementary Note.

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Correspondence to Ruth J F Loos.

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Competing interests

I.B. and spouse own stock in Incyte Ltd and GlaxoSmithKline. K.S., G.T., U.T. and U.S. are employed by deCODE Genetics. V.M. is a full-time employee of GlaxoSmithKline. G.W. and P.V. received funding from GlaxoSmithKline to build the CoLaus Study.

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Kilpeläinen, T., Zillikens, M., Stančákova, A. et al. Genetic variation near IRS1 associates with reduced adiposity and an impaired metabolic profile. Nat Genet 43, 753–760 (2011).

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