Genetic variants in vitamin D metabolism-related genes and body mass index: analysis of genome-wide scan data of approximately 7000 Chinese women

Int J Obes (Lond). 2012 Sep;36(9):1252-5. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2011.246. Epub 2011 Dec 13.


Vitamin D deficiency has been consistently associated with obesity. However, it is unclear whether vitamin D deficiency is the cause or consequence of obesity. We investigated this question by evaluating the association between genetic variants in vitamin D metabolism pathway genes and obesity-related traits. Using directly genotyped and imputed data from a genome-wide association study of 6922 women aged 25-70 years, we examined the association of 198 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in vitamin D pathway genes (CYP27A1, CYP27B1, CYP24A1, CYP2R1, group-specific component (GC) and vitamin D nuclear receptor (VDR)) with body mass index (BMI) and body weight. Per allele beta (β) estimates were calculated for this association using linear regression models, controlling for age, square of age, menopausal status and sample sets. Overall, only two SNPs (rs2248359 in CYP24A1 and rs10832313 in CYP2R1) had a nominally significant association with BMI and weight (P<0.05 for all), with no variation observed by menopausal status, physical activity or dietary energy intake. None of the SNPs examined in the VDR gene were associated with BMI or weight. Our findings suggest that common genetic variants in vitamin D pathway genes do not have a major role in obesity among Chinese women. This comprehensive evaluation of genetic polymorphisms in vitamin D metabolism-related genes and obesity-related traits did not provide strong evidence to support low vitamin D levels as a cause of obesity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / genetics*
  • Body Mass Index
  • China / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Risk Factors
  • Signal Transduction
  • Vitamin D / metabolism*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / genetics*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / metabolism


  • Vitamin D