Context: There is growing evidence for interactions between the regulation of body fat and the immune system. Studies of knockout mice indicate that IL-1 has an antiobesity effect.
Objective: The objective of the study was to investigate our hypothesis that common polymorphisms of the IL-1 system, which are associated with IL-1 activity, also are associated with fat mass. DESIGN, SETTING, AND STUDY SUBJECTS: The Gothenburg Osteoporosis and Obesity Determinants (GOOD) study is a population-based cross-sectional study of 18- to 20-yr-old men (n = 1068), mostly Caucasian, from the Gothenburg area (Sweden). Three different polymorphisms, IL-1beta +3953 C/T, IL-1beta-31 T/C, and IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RN) variable number tandem repeat of 86 bp, were investigated in relation to body fat mass.
Main outcome measure: The main outcome measures were genotype distributions and their association with body fat mass in different compartments, measured with dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.
Results: Carriers of the T variant (CT and TT) of the +3953 C to T (F(T) = 0.25) IL-1beta gene polymorphism had significantly lower total fat mass (P = 0.013) and also significantly reduced arm, leg, and trunk fat, compared with CC individuals. IL-1RN*2 carriers with two repeats of the IL-1RN variable number tandem repeat polymorphism had increased total fat (P = 0.036), serum leptin, and fat of trunk and arm as well as serum levels of IL-1RN and IL-1RN production ex vivo. The IL-1beta-31 polymorphism did not correlate with the fat measurements.
Conclusions: The IL-1 system, recently shown to affect fat mass in experimental animals, contains gene polymorphisms that are associated with fat mass in young men.