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Obesity-Susceptibility Loci Have a Limited Influence on Birth Weight: a Meta-Analysis of up to 28,219 Individuals


Kilpelainen, Tuomas O.; den Hoed, Marcel; Ong, Ken K.; Grontved, Anders; Brage, Soren; Early Growth Genetics Consortium; Jameson, Karen; Cooper, Cyrus; Khaw, Kay-Tee; & Ekelund, Ulf, et al. (2011). Obesity-Susceptibility Loci Have a Limited Influence on Birth Weight: a Meta-Analysis of up to 28,219 Individuals. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 93(4), 851-860.


BACKGROUND: High birth weight is associated with adult body mass index (BMI). We hypothesized that birth weight and BMI may partly share a common genetic background. OBJECTIVE: The objective was to examine the associations of 12 established BMI variants in or near the NEGR1, SEC16B, TMEM18, ETV5, GNPDA2, BDNF, MTCH2, BCDIN3D, SH2B1, FTO, MC4R, and KCTD15 genes and their additive score with birth weight. DESIGN: A meta-analysis was conducted with the use of 1) the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Norfolk, Hertfordshire, Fenland, and European Youth Heart Study cohorts (n(max) = 14,060); 2) data extracted from the Early Growth Genetics Consortium meta-analysis of 6 genome-wide association studies for birth weight (n(max) = 10,623); and 3) all published data (n(max) = 14,837). RESULTS: Only the MTCH2 and FTO loci showed a nominally significant association with birth weight. The BMI-increasing allele of the MTCH2 variant (rs10838738) was associated with a lower birth weight (beta +/- SE: -13 +/- 5 g/allele; P = 0.012; n = 23,680), and the BMI-increasing allele of the FTO variant (rs1121980) was associated with a higher birth weight (beta +/- SE: 11 +/- 4 g/allele; P = 0.013; n = 28,219). These results were not significant after correction for multiple testing. CONCLUSIONS: Obesity-susceptibility loci have a small or no effect on weight at birth. Some evidence of an association was found for the MTCH2 and FTO loci, ie, lower and higher birth weight, respectively. These findings may provide new insights into the underlying mechanisms by which these loci confer an increased risk of obesity.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition


Kilpelainen, Tuomas O.
den Hoed, Marcel
Ong, Ken K.
Grontved, Anders
Brage, Soren
Early Growth Genetics Consortium
Jameson, Karen
Cooper, Cyrus
Khaw, Kay-Tee
Ekelund, Ulf
Wareham, Nicholas J.
Loos, Ruth J.F.