High blood pressure gene also linked to obesity

November 12, 2000

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 13 - A natural gene variation that is already linked to high blood pressure may also predispose those who inherit it to obesity, according to a study reported today at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2000.

The discovery could lead to new approaches to prevent high blood pressure and obesity.

German researchers found that people who inherit two copies of the gene, one from each parent, have a high risk of obesity. However, exercising for two hours or more a week appears to block the genetic tendency. "This underscores that obesity is not only a genetic disease, but that certain genes - in connection with environmental or behavioral factors - can increase the likelihood of obesity," says lead author Achim Gutersohn, M.D., of the University of Essen in Essen, Germany. "However, such inherited factors can be countered by a healthy lifestyle."

He notes that the gene variation, called the GNB3 825T allele, is a "thrifty genotype." He speculates that the once-beneficial gene arose early in human history, when a high level of physical activity was the norm, to help our ancestors in hunter-gatherer societies survive periods of low food supplies. But the gene variation now has become detrimental in industrialized countries where less physical activity is demanded.

The German team linked the 825T allele to obesity after studying 1,291 young, healthy, white volunteers - average age, 29.8 years. "We conducted this study to better understand why the GNB3 825T allele is associated with an increased cardiovascular risk," Gutersohn says.

Earlier studies had associated the gene variation with high blood pressure, particularly in people with left ventricular hypertrophy, a thickening of the heart muscle that can be life threatening. Animal and laboratory cell studies have also shown that increased activation of G protein, a messenger system within cells, leads to a greater production of fat cells.

Gutersohn and his colleagues measured the height and weight of the 532 women and 759 men who took part in the study and gathered information on the participants' socioeconomic status, diets and physical activity. Examination of their DNA, obtained from blood samples, revealed whether or not a volunteer carried the 825T allele.

"One significant finding of our study is the strong effect of the gene in white individuals with a sedentary lifestyle," Gutersohn says. "Our findings show that individuals who have inherited two copies of the 825T allele have a high risk of obesity if they do not participate in regular physical activity." Dr. Gutersohn and colleagues at the University of Essen also provided estimates of how often the 825T allele occurs in several racial groups by analyzing the genes of 1,153 anonymous individuals from five population groups - Australian aborigines, Japanese, Chinese, black Africans and black Americans. They found it was most common in black Africans and black Americans.

Combining the 825T allele data from these groups with that from the white volunteers allowed the team to estimate the frequency with which the gene variation occurs among different racial populations. Gutersohn says the estimated frequency showed that at least one copy of the allele was carried by 71.4 to 87.8 percent of black Africans and black Americans; 43.1 to 49.0 percent of Asians; and 25.1 to 29.6 percent of Caucasians.

The researchers believe the 825T allele holds great potential as a genetic screening tool to identify people at risk of obesity-related diseases. This would allow physicians to initiate preventive treatments long before symptoms appeared.
Co-authors are Rainer Mueller, M.D., and Winfried Siffert, M.D.

NR00-1181 (SS2000/Gutersohn)

American Heart Association

Related Obesity Articles from Brightsurf:

11 years of data add to the evidence for using testosterone therapy to treat obesity, including as an alternative to obesity surgery
New research covering 11 years of data presented at this year's European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) show that, in obese men suffering from hypogonadism (low testosterone), treatment with testosterone injections lowers their weight and improves a wide range of other metabolic parameters.

Overlap between immunology of COVID-19 and obesity could explain the increased risk of death in people living with obesity, and also older patients
Data presented in a special COVID-19 session at the European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) suggests that there are overlaps between the immunological disturbances found in both COVID-19 disease and patients with obesity, which could explain the increased disease severity and mortality risk faced by obese patients, and also elderly patients, who are infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease.

New obesity guideline: Address root causes as foundation of obesity management
besity management should focus on outcomes that patients consider to be important, not weight loss alone, and include a holistic approach that addresses the root causes of obesity, according to a new clinical practice guideline published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.191707.

Changing the debate around obesity
The UK's National Health Service (NHS) needs to do more to address the ingrained stigma and discrimination faced by people with obesity, says a leading health psychologist.

Study links longer exposure to obesity and earlier development of obesity to increased risk of type 2 diabetes
Cumulative exposure to obesity could be at least as important as actually being obese in terms of risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D), concludes new research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]).

How much do obesity and addictions overlap?
A large analysis of personality studies has found that people with obesity behave somewhat like people with addictions to alcohol or drugs.

Should obesity be recognized as a disease?
With obesity now affecting almost a third (29%) of the population in England, and expected to rise to 35% by 2030, should we now recognize it as a disease?

Is obesity associated with risk of pediatric MS?
A single-center study of 453 children in Germany with multiple sclerosis (MS) investigated the association of obesity with pediatric MS risk and with the response of first-line therapy in children with MS.

Women with obesity prior to conception are more likely to have children with obesity
A systematic review and meta-analysis identified significantly increased odds of child obesity when mothers have obesity before conception, according to a study published June 11, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine by Nicola Heslehurst of Newcastle University in the UK, and colleagues.

Obesity medicine association announces major updates to its adult obesity algorithm
The Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) announced the immediate availability of the 2019 OMA Adult Obesity Algorithm, with new information for clinicians including the relationship between Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Dyslipidemia, and Cancer; information on investigational Anti-Obesity Pharmacotherapy; treatments for Lipodystrophy; and Pharmacokinetics and Obesity.

Read More: Obesity News and Obesity Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.