Background: The salivary α-amylase locus (AMY1) is located in a highly polymorphic multi allelic copy number variable chromosomal region. A recent report identified an association between AMY1 copy numbers and BMI in common obesity. The present study investigated the relationship between AMY1 copy number, BMI and serum amylase in childhood-onset obesity.
Patients: Sixty-one subjects with a history of childhood-onset obesity (mean age 19.1 years, 54% males) and 71 matched controls (19.8 yrs, 45% males) were included. All anthropometric measures were greater in the obese; their mean BMI was 40 kg/m2 (range 25-62 kg/m2) compared with 23 kg/m2 in the controls (15-32 kg/m2).
Results: Mean AMY1 copy numbers did not differ between the obese and control subjects, but gender differences were observed; obese men showed the highest and obese women the lowest number of AMY1 copies (p=0.045). Further, only in affected females, AMY1 copy number correlated significantly with whole body fat percent (r=-0.512, p=0.013) and BMI (r=-0.416, p=0.025). Finally, a clear linear association between AMY1 copy number and serum salivary amylase was observed in all subgroups but again differences existed between obese males and females.
Conclusions: In conclusion, our findings suggest that AMY1 copy number differences play a role in childhood-onset obesity but the effect differs between males and females. Further studies in larger cohorts are needed to confirm these observations.