Genome-wide Linkage Analysis for Severe Obesity in French Caucasians Finds Significant Susceptibility Locus on Chromosome 19q

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To ascertain whether distinct chromosomal loci existed that were linked to severe obesity, as well as to utilize the increased heritability of this excessive phenotype, we performed a genome-wide scan in severely obese French Caucasians. The 109 selected pedigrees, totaling 447 individuals, required both the proband and a sibling to be severely obese (BMI ≥35 kg/m2), and 84.8% of the nuclear families possessed ≥1 morbidly obese sibling (BMI ≥40). Severe and morbid obesity are still relatively rare in France, with rates of 2.5 and 0.6%, respectively. The initial genome scan consisted of 395 evenly spaced microsatellite markers. Six regions were found to have suggestive linkage on 4q, 6cen-q, 17q, and 19q for a BMI ≥35 phenotypic subset, and 5q and 10q for an inclusive BMI ≥27 group. The highest peak on chromosome 19q (logarithm of odds [LOD] = 3.59) was significant by genome scan simulation testing (P = 0.042). These regions then underwent second-stage mapping with an additional set of 42 markers. BMI ≥35 analysis defined regions on 17q23.3-25.1 and 19q13.33-13.43 with an maximum likelihood score LOD of 3.16 and 3.21, respectively. Subsequent pooled data analysis with an additional previous population of 66 BMI ≥35 sib-pairs led to a significant LOD score of 3.8 at the 19q locus (empirical P = 0.023). For more moderate obesity and overweight susceptibility loci, BMI ≥27 analysis confirmed suggestive linkage to chromosome regions 5q14.3-q21.3 (LOD = 2.68) and 10q24.32-26.2 (LOD = 2.47). Plausible positional candidate genes include NR1H2 and TULP2.

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