Obesity is a growing health concern in the Oceanic populations. To investigate the genetic factors associated with adult obesity in the Oceanic populations, the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the beta-2 adrenergic receptor (ADRB2) gene with obesity was examined in 694 adults living in Tonga and Solomon Islands.RESULTS:
A screening for variation in 16 Oceanic subjects detected 17 SNPs in the entire region of ADRB2, of which nine SNPs including two non-synonymous ones, rs1042713 (Arg16Gly) and rs1042714 (Gln27Glu), were further genotyped for all subjects. The rs34623097-A allele, at a SNP located upstream of ADRB2, showed the strongest association with risk for obesity in a logistic regression analysis adjusted for age, sex, and population (P = 5.6 × 10-4, odds ratio [OR] = 2.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.5-4.2). The 27Glu was also significantly associated with obesity in the single-point association analysis (P = 0.013, OR = 2.0, 95%CI = 1.2-3.4); however, this association was no longer significant after adjustment for rs34623097 since these SNPs were in linkage disequilibrium with each other. A copy of the obesity-risk allele, rs34623097-A, led to a 1.6 kg/m2 increase in body mass index (BMI; defined as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) (P = 0.0019). A luciferase reporter assay indicated that rs34623097-A reduced the transcriptional activity of the luciferase reporter gene by approximately 10% compared with rs34623097-G. An electrophoretic mobility shift assay demonstrated that rs34623097 modulated the binding affinity with nuclear factors. An evolutionary analysis implies that a G>A mutation at rs34623097 occurred in the Neandertal genome and then the rs34623097-A allele flowed into the ancestors of present-day humans.CONCLUSION:
The present results suggest that rs34623097-A, which would lead to lower expression of ADRB2, contributes to the onset of obesity in the Oceanic populations.