A common CNR1 (cannabinoid receptor 1) haplotype attenuates the decrease in HDL cholesterol that typically accompanies weight gain

PLoS One. 2010 Dec 31;5(12):e15779. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015779.


We have previously shown that genetic variability in CNR1 is associated with low HDL dyslipidemia in a multigenerational obesity study cohort of Northern European descent (209 families, median = 10 individuals per pedigree). In order to assess the impact of CNR1 variability on the development of dyslipidemia in the community, we genotyped this locus in all subjects with class III obesity (body mass index >40 kg/m(2)) participating in a population-based biobank of similar ancestry. Twenty-two haplotype tagging SNPs, capturing the entire CNR1 gene locus plus 15 kb upstream and 5 kb downstream, were genotyped and tested for association with clinical lipid data. This biobank contains data from 645 morbidly obese study subjects. In these subjects, a common CNR1 haplotype (H3, frequency 21.1%) is associated with fasting TG and HDL cholesterol levels (p = 0.031 for logTG; p = 0.038 for HDL-C; p = 0.00376 for log[TG/HDL-C]). The strength of this relationship increases when the data are adjusted for age, gender, body mass index, diet and physical activity. Mean TG levels were 160±70, 155±70, and 120±60 mg/dL for subjects with 0, 1, and 2 copies of the H3 haplotype. Mean HDL-C levels were 45±10, 47±10, and 48±9 mg/dL, respectively. The H3 CNR1 haplotype appears to exert a protective effect against development of obesity-related dyslipidemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cholesterol, HDL / metabolism*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Dyslipidemias / metabolism
  • Female
  • Haplotypes*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / genetics*
  • Triglycerides / metabolism
  • Weight Gain*


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1
  • Triglycerides