Heterogeneity in Obesity: Genetic Basis and Metabolic Consequences

Curr Diab Rep. 2020 Jan 22;20(1):1. doi: 10.1007/s11892-020-1285-4.


Purpose of review: Our review provides a brief summary of the most recent advances towards the identification of the genetic basis of specific aspects of obesity and the quantification of their consequences on health. We also highlight the most promising avenues to be explored in the future.

Recent findings: While obesity has been demonstrated to lead to adverse cardio-metabolic consequences, the determinants of inter-individual variability remain largely unknown. The elucidation of the molecular underpinnings of this relationship is hampered by the extremely heterogeneous nature of obesity as a human trait. Recent technological advances have facilitated a more in-depth characterization of body composition at large-scale. At the pace of current data acquisition and resolution, it is realistic to improve characterization of obesity and to advise individuals based on detailed body composition combined with tissue-specific molecular signatures. Individualized predictions of health implications would enable more personalized and effective public health interventions.

Keywords: GWAS; Mendelian randomization; Metabolic disease; Obesity genetics; Obesity subtypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity / genetics
  • Adiposity / physiology*
  • Body Composition / genetics
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Body Fat Distribution
  • Body Mass Index
  • Genetic Heterogeneity
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Phenotype
  • Sex Factors
  • Waist Circumference / genetics
  • Waist Circumference / physiology