Introduction: Evidence for linkage and association of obesity-related quantitative traits to chromosome 1q43 has been reported in the Quebec Family Study (QFS) and in populations of Caribbean Hispanic ancestries yet no specific candidate locus has been replicated to date.
Methods: Using a set of 1,902 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) genotyped in 525 African American (AA) and 391 European American (EA) women enrolled in the NIEHS uterine fibroid study (NIEHS-UFS), we generated a fine association map for the body mass index (BMI) across a 2.3 megabase-long interval delimited by RGS7 (regulator of G-protein signaling 7) and PLD5 (Phospholipase D, member 5). Multivariable-adjusted linear regression models were fitted to the data to evaluate the association in race-stratified analyses and meta-analysis.
Results: The strongest associations were observed in a recessive genetic model and peaked in the 3' end of RGS7 at intronic rs261802 variant in the AA group (p = 1.0 x 10-4) and in meta-analysis of AA and EA samples (p = 9.0 x 10-5). In the EA group, moderate associations peaked at rs6429264 (p = 2.0 x 10-3) in the 2 Kb upstream sequence of RGS7. In the reference populations for the European ancestry in the 1,000 genomes project, rs6429264 occurs in strong linkage disequilibrium (D' = 0.94) with rs1341467, the strongest candidate SNP for total body fat in QFS that failed genotyping in the present study. Additionally we report moderate associations at the 3' end of PLD5 in meta-analysis (3.2 x 10-4 ≤ p ≤ 5.8 x 10-4).
Conclusion: We report replication data suggesting that RGS7, a gene abundantly expressed in the brain, might be a putative body fat QTL on human chromosome 1q43. Future genetic and functional studies are required to substantiate our observations and to potentially link them to the neurobehavioral phenotypes associated with the RGS7 region.