Impact of leptin receptor gene variants on risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and its interaction with adiponutrin gene

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013 May;28(5):873-9. doi: 10.1111/jgh.12104.


Background and aim: Genetic polymorphism has been implicated as a factor for the occurrence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This study attempted to assess whether polymorphisms in the leptin receptor (LEPR) gene and its combined effect with patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing protein 3 (PNPLA3/adiponutrin) are associated with risk of NAFLD.

Methods: A total of 144 biopsy-proven NAFLD and 198 controls were genotyped using the Sequenom MassARRAY platform.

Results: We observed a significant association between the LEPR rs1137100 and rs1137101 with susceptibility to NAFLD (odds ratio [OR] 1.64, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.18-2.28, P = 0.003; and OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.11-2.34, P = 0.013, respectively) and to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.05-2.12, P = 0.026; and OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.05-2.35, P = 0.029, respectively). The LEPR rs1137100 is also associated with simple steatosis (OR 2.27, 95% CI 1.27-4.08, P = 0.006). Analysis of gene-gene interaction revealed a strong interaction between the LEPR and PNPLA3 genes (empirical P = 0.001). The joint effect of LEPR and PNPLA3 greatly exacerbated the risk of NAFLD (OR 3.73, 95% CI 1.84-7.55, P < 0.0001). The G allele of rs1137100 is associated with lower fibrosis score (OR 0.47, 95% CI 0.28-0.78, P = 0.001).

Conclusions: We report an association between variants of LEPR rs1137100 and rs1137101 with risk of NAFLD. This study suggests that rs1137100, specifically the G allele, is associated with a less severe form of liver disease in patients with NAFLD. The interaction between LEPR and PNPLA3 genes showed increased risk of NAFLD compared to either gene alone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disease Susceptibility*
  • Epistasis, Genetic / genetics*
  • Fatty Liver / genetics*
  • Fatty Liver / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Variation / genetics*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Receptors, Leptin / genetics*
  • Risk


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, Leptin
  • adiponutrin