Increasing association between a neuropeptide Y promoter polymorphism and body mass index during the course of development

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To investigate the association of the neuropeptide Y (NPY) promoter polymorphism rs16147 with body mass index (BMI) during the course of development from infancy to adulthood.


Longitudinal, prospective study of a German community sample.


n = 306 young adults (139 males, 167 females).


Participants' body weight and height were assessed at the ages of 3 months and 2, 4.5, 8, 11, 15 and 19 years. NPY rs16147 was genotyped.


Controlling for a number of possible confounders, homozygote carriers of the rs16147 C allele exhibited significantly lower BMI scores when compared with individuals carrying the T allele. In addition, a significant genotype by age interaction emerged, indicating that the genotype effect increased during the course of development.


This is the first longitudinal study to report an association between rs16147 and BMI during childhood and adolescence. The finding that this effect increased during the course of development may either be due to age-dependent alterations in gene expression or to maturation processes within the weight regulation circuits of the central nervous system.

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