In recent years, oxytocin (OXT) and polymorphisms in the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene have been reported to play roles in obesity pathogenesis. However, there was no study evaluating OXTR gene variants in childhood obesity. The aim of the study was to investigate the relation of OXTR gene polymorphisms and serum OXT levels with metabolic and anthropometric parameters in obese and healthy adolescents.
The study was a multi-centered case-control study, which was conducted on obese and healthy adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years. Serum OXT and leptin levels were measured, and OXTR gene variants were studied by qPCR (rs53576) and RFLP (rs2254298) methods.
A total of 250 obese and 250 healthy adolescents were included in this study. In the obese group, serum OXT level was lower and leptin level was higher than the control group. In the obese group, frequencies of homozygous mutant (G/G) and heterozygous (A/G) genotypes for rs53576 polymorphism were higher than the control group. Homozygous mutant(G/G) and heterozygous (A/G) genotypes for rs53576 polymorphism were found to increase the risk of obesity compared to the wild type (A/A) genotype [OR = 6.05 and OR = 3.06; p < 0.001, respectively]. In patients with homozygous mutant (G/G) and heterozygous (A/G) genotype for rs53576 polymorphism, serum OXT levels were lower than the wild type (A/A) genotype. In the obese group, hyperphagia score was higher than the control group and correlated negatively with serum OXT level.
This study revealed that low serum OXT level, which is associated with hyperphagia may be an underlying cause for obesity in adolescents. For rs53576 polymorphism of the OXTR gene, obesity risk is higher in patients with homozygous mutant(G/G) and heterozygous(A/G)genotypes.
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We are grateful to the TÜBİTAK unit and its employees who provided scientific and financial support for the evaluation of the project application.
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Çatli, G., Acar, S., Cingöz, G. et al. Oxytocin receptor gene polymorphism and low serum oxytocin level are associated with hyperphagia and obesity in adolescents. Int J Obes 45, 2064–2073 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41366-021-00876-5