Background: Increased accumulation of fat results from an imbalance between energy expenditure and intake, being modulated by different environmental and genetic factors. Uncoupling proteins (UCPs) are mitochondrial carrier proteins able to spend energy generating heat. Therefore, variations in these genes are good candidates as potential modulators of body fat accumulation. Our aim was to investigate the possible association of genetic variations of the gene codifying the UCP2 protein with obesity and fat distribution.
Design: We performed a cross-sectional study in 2367 individuals from two population-based studies from different regions of Spain. The Hortega Study included 1436 individuals (693 women) 21-85 years old, and the Pizarra Study included 931 individuals (584 women) 18-65 years old. We evaluated three polymorphisms of the UCP2 gene.
Results: The TT genotype of the rs660339 polymorphism and the AA genotype of the rs659366 polymorphism of the UCP2 gene were significantly associated with higher waist circumference in the Hortega Study. Furthermore, subjects carrying both genotypes (TT+AA) also showed higher central adiposity compared with other genotypes. This association was also present in the Pizarra Study. Moreover, in the pooled population, we found a stronger association with waist circumference. Even, we found association with BMI. Furthermore, rs659366 polymorphism was associated with the risk of abdominal obesity (P= 0·04: OR = 1·3; CI = 1·01-1·67).
Conclusions: Polymorphisms of the UCP2 gene (rs660339 and rs659366) were associated with central obesity. This study shows association between the UCP2 gene and the susceptibility to obesity and body fat distribution in a south European population.
© 2011 The Authors. European Journal of Clinical Investigation © 2011 Stichting European Society for Clinical Investigation Journal Foundation.