Background Two recent genome-wide association studies identified the liver expressed transmembrane protein adiponutrin to be associated with liver related phenotypes such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and liver function enzymes. These associations were not uniformly reported for various ethnicities. The aim of this study was to investigate a common non-synonymous variant within adiponutrin (rs738409, exon 3) with parameters of liver function in three independent West Eurasian study populations including a total of 4290 participants.
Methods The study was performed in (1) the population based Bruneck Study (n=783), (2) the Salzburg Atherosclerosis Prevention Program in Subjects at High Individual Risk Study from Austria based on a healthy working population (n=1705), and the Utah Obesity Case–Control Study including a group of 1019 severely obese individuals (average body mass index 46.0 kg/m2) and 783 controls from the same geographical region of Utah. Liver enzymes measured were alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and γ-glutamyl transferase (GGT).
Results A strong recessive association of this polymorphism was found with age and gender adjusted ALT and AST concentrations: being homozygous for the minor allele resulted in a highly significant increase of ALT concentration of 3.53 U/l (p=1.86×10−9) and of AST concentration of 2.07 U/l (p=9.58×10−6), respectively. The associations were consistently found in all three study populations.
Conclusion The highly significant associations of this transversion polymorphism within the adiponutrin gene with increased ALT and AST concentrations support a role for adiponutrin as a susceptibility gene for hepatic dysfunction.
- genetic association
- hepatic dysfunction
- liver enzymes
- association study
- metabolic disorders
- liver disease
- genetic epidemiology
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Supplementary tables 1–3 are published online only at http://jmg.bmj.com/content/vol47/issue2
Funding This work was supported by grants from the ‘Genomics of Lipid-associated Disorders – GOLD’ of the ‘Austrian Genome Research Programme GEN-AU’ to F Kronenberg, by a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (DK-55006), and a grant from the National Center for Research Resources (M01-RR00064). Other funders: NIH.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the University of Salt Lake City; University of Innsbruck.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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