Objective: To identify polymorphisms in the human uncoupling protein 2 gene (UCP2) promoter and to investigate whether these were associated with obesity or weight gain.
Research methods and procedures: The human UCP2 promoter was characterized by reporter gene analysis in cell lines derived from skeletal muscle, white adipose tissue, and embryonic tissue. We analyzed the core promoter for polymorphisms in 60 obese subjects. A prevalent polymorphism, the -866 G/A variant, was investigated for association with obesity in 749 men obese as young adults and 816 men of the same age representing the background population. Genotype-phenotype interaction studies were performed in two other population-based samples: one group of middle-aged-to-elderly Danish subjects (mean age, 53 years; range, 30 to 88 years) and one group of 60-year-old Danish subjects.
Results: The region up to -1202 bp relative to the UCP2 transcription initiation site gave rise to the highest promoter activity. Eight mutations in this region were identified comprising -866 G/A, -850 G/A, -337 G/C, -41 G/T, -28 insertion T, -5 insertion (cactgcgaagccc), +45 C/T, and +53 G/C, but none of these was associated with consistent alterations in BMI, body fat content, weight gain, or fasting levels of plasma glucose and serum insulin.
Discussion: Variation of the UCP2 promoter including the single common variant (-866 A/G) is not associated with obesity or obesity-related intermediary phenotypes in Danish subjects.