Association of the LCT-13910C>T polymorphism with obesity and its modulation by dairy products in a Mediterranean population

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Aug;19(8):1707-14. doi: 10.1038/oby.2010.320. Epub 2010 Dec 30.


The -13910C>T polymorphism (rs4988235) upstream from the lactase (LCT) gene, strongly associated with lactase persistence (LP) in Europeans, is emerging as a new candidate for obesity. We aimed to analyze the association of this polymorphism with obesity-related variables and its modulation by dairy product intake in an elderly population. We studied 940 high-cardiovascular risk Spanish subjects (aged 67 ± 7 years). Dairy product consumption was assessed by a validated questionnaire. Anthropometric variables were directly measured, and metabolic syndrome-related variables were obtained. Prevalence of genotypes was: 38.0% CC (lactase nonpersistent (LNP)), 45.7% CT, and 16.3% TT. The CC genotype was not associated with lower milk or dairy product consumption in the whole population. Only in women was dairy intake significantly lower in CC subjects. The most important association was obtained with anthropometric measurements. CC individuals had lower weight (P = 0.032), lower BMI (29.7 ± 4.2 vs. 30.6 ± 4.2 kg/m(2); P = 0.003) and lower waist circumference (101.1 ± 11.8 vs. 103.5 ± 11.5 cm; P = 0.005) than T-allele carriers. Obesity risk was also significantly higher in T-allele carriers than in CC individuals (odds ratio (OR): 1.38; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.05-1.81; P = 0.01), and remained significant even after adjustment for sex, age, diabetes, physical activity, and energy intake. However, in subgroup analysis, these associations were found to be significant only among those consuming moderate or high lactose intakes (>8 g/day). No significant associations with lipids, glucose, or blood pressure were obtained after adjustment for BMI. In conclusion, despite not finding marked differences in dairy product consumption, this polymorphism was strongly associated with BMI and obesity and modulated by lactose intake in this Mediterranean population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alleles
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / genetics
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / genetics*
  • Dairy Products*
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Lactase / genetics*
  • Lactose / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Mediterranean Region
  • Metabolic Syndrome / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Spain
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Waist Circumference / genetics


  • Lactase
  • Lactose