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Exercise Reduces Weight Gain Effects in Those With FTO Gene

No evidence for interaction with physical activity for loci other than established FTO locus

genetic helix

FRIDAY, April 28, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Eleven novel adiposity variants have been identified after adjustment for physical activity (PA), and PA can reduce the weight-gaining effects of the FTO gene by about 30 percent, according to a meta-analysis published online April 27 in PLOS Genetics.

Mariaelisa Graff, Ph.D., from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues performed a genome-wide interaction meta-analyses of body mass index (BMI) and BMI-adjusted waist circumference and waist-hip ratio from up to 200,452 adults (180,423 of European and 20,029 of other ancestry) to identify adiposity loci whose effects are modified by PA. PA was categorized as a dichotomous variable, with 23 percent of participants classified as inactive and 77 percent as physically active.

The researchers replicated the interaction with PA for the known obesity-risk locus in the FTO gene, in which the effect is attenuated by about 30 percent for physically active versus inactive individuals. No additional loci that were sensitive to PA were identified. Eleven novel adiposity loci were identified in additional genome-wide meta-analyses adjusting for PA and interaction with PA.

"We do not find evidence of interaction with PA for loci other than the established FTO locus," the authors write. "Accounting for PA or other environmental factors that contribute to variation in adiposity may increase power for gene discovery."

The meta-analysis and several of the included studies received funding from pharmaceutical and health care companies.

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