Central obesity and body fat distribution measured by waist circumference (WC) and waist hip ratio (WHR) are good predictors of cardio metabolic adversities independent of overall adiposity. There are substantial evidence that body fat distribution is controlled by genetic factors. Even after accounting for body mass index (BMI), individual variation in body fat distribution is heritable, with estimates ranging from 31–76%. Individuals genetically predisposed to store more fat in visceral depots are at higher risk of developing metabolic complications. Several linkage and genomewide association studies (GWAS) for measures of body fat distribution uncovered numerous loci harbouring genes potentially regulating body fat distribution. Additionally, genes with fat depot specific expression patterns (especially, subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) and visceral adipose tissue (VAT)) have provided plausible candidate genes involved in body fat regulation. Further, sexual dimorphism have revealed a remarkable heterogeneity in the genetic regulation of body fat distribution. More than hundred loci have been identified through GWAS, displaying more pronounced effect in females than males, suggesting that both sexes share potentially different biological architecture in traits related to body fat distribution. Moreover, the handful of genes identified by GWAS have been validated in different population groups. This article aims at reviewing the current knowledge of genomic basis of body fat distribution.
Volume 100, 2021
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