Obesity is a complex disease, and genetic background plays an important role in its pathogenesis, apart from environmental factors, such as a high-energy diet and low physical activity. The great person-to-person variation seen in response to an obesogenic environment suggests the existence of a genetic predisposition to excessive accumulation of fat tissue . The genetic background of obesity is currently the area of interest of numerous research centers, and its cognition is regarded as an important factor that may contribute to the increase in the effectiveness of preventive and therapeutic interventions. Among the genes associated with obesity, the FTO gene plays a special role. In humans, it was first identified in 2007 in Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS). The fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene is one of the genes recognized as associated with enhanced adiposity and seems to influence the risk of obesity. It is located in chromosome region 16q12.2 10 and encodes the nucleic acid demethylase of the AlkB family proteins . The FTO gene is expressed mainly in the hypothalamus and plays an important role in energy homeostasis and in the regulation of adipose tissue mass by influencing lipolysis and differentiation of preadipocytes [4, 5]. The strongest association of FTO gene with obesity and Body Mass Index (BMI) was shown with risk alleles such as rs9930609 and rs9930506 (alleles A and G, respectively). Our results indicate that some individuals in the Polish population are carriers of a genetic variant that can significantly enhance the risk of developing obesity. This is an additional argument indicating the need to make a continuous and intensive effort to promote changes in lifestyle and dietary habits in order to stop the epidemic of obesity. The assessment of the FTO variants may be helpful in identifying persons with a greater predisposition to excessive weight gain, in order to take early prevention and increase personalization. Patients with an unfavorable FTO variants must attach greater importance than the rest of the population to the composition of their diet and the level of physical activity in order to prevent a positive energy balance.
Audience Take Away:
- The audience will learn about risk alleles of Fat Mass and Obesity Associated Gene (FTO), identified in Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS), that can predispose to obesity and metabolic disorders.
- The carriers of a genetic variants that can significantly enhance the risk of developing obesity need to make a continuous and intensive effort to promote changes in lifestyle and dietary habits in order to stop the epidemic of obesity.
Dr. Malgorzata Wrzosek is presently working as the Assistant Professor in Department of Biochemistry and Pharmacogenomics at Medical University of Warsaw. Dr. Wrzosek completed her Masters in Pharmacy from Medical University of Warsaw in the year 2007. She received her PhD degree in 2011 and obtained his habilitation in 2018 at the same institution. Her research interest include obesity, obesity prevention, diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, pharmacogenomics, and genetic analysis.