Common genetic variation near MC4R is associated with eating behaviour patterns in European populations
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Both rs17782313 (near MC4R) and rs1421085 (FTO) polymorphisms have been consistently associated with increased risk of obesity and with body mass index (BMI) variation. An effect of both polymorphisms on satiety has recently been suggested. We genotyped rs17782313 and rs1421085 in 5764 relatives from 1109 French pedigrees with familial obesity, 1274 Swiss class III obese adults as well as in 4877 French adults and 5612 Finnish teenagers from two randomly selected population cohorts. In all subjects, eating behaviour traits were documented through questionnaires. We first assessed the association of both single nucleotide polymorphisms with BMI and then studied eating behaviour. Under an additive model, the rs17782313-C MC4R allele showed a trend towards higher percentages of snacking in both French obese children (P=0.01) and Swiss obese adults (P=0.04) as well as in adolescents from the Finnish general population (P=0.04). In French adults with familial obesity, this allele tended to be also associated with a higher Stunkard hunger score (P=0.02) and in obese children with a higher prevalence of eating large amounts of food (P=0.04). However, no consistent association of the FTO rs1421085-C allele and available eating behaviour trait was found in our studied populations. The rs17782313-C allele nearby MC4R may modulate eating behaviour-related phenotypes in European obese and randomly selected populations, in both children and adults, supporting a regulatory role of this genetic variant on eating behaviour, as previously shown for MC4R non-synonymous loss-of-function mutations. The potential effect of the obesity-associated FTO gene on eating behaviour deserves additional investigation.