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Leptin influences food intake by informing the brain about the status of body fat stores. Rare LEP mutations associated with congenital leptin deficiency cause severe early-onset obesity that can be mitigated by administering leptin. However, the role of genetic regulation of leptin in polygenic obesity remains poorly understood. We performed an exome-based analysis in up to 57,232 individuals of diverse ancestries to identify genetic variants that influence adiposity-adjusted leptin concentrations. We identify five novel variants, including four missense variants, in LEP, ZNF800, KLHL31, and ACTL9, and one intergenic variant near KLF 14 The missense variant Val94Met (rs17151919) in LEP was common in individuals of African ancestry only and its association with lower leptin concentrations was specific to this ancestry (P=2x10-16, n=3,901). Using in vitro analyses, we show that the Met94 allele decreases leptin secretion. We also show that the Met94 allele is associated with higher BMI in young African-ancestry children but not in adults, suggesting leptin regulates early adiposity.

Original publication

DOI

10.2337/db20-0070

Type

Journal article

Journal

Diabetes

Publication Date

11/09/2020

Addresses

Genetics of Complex Traits, University of Exeter Medical School, Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, Exeter, United Kingdom h.yaghootkar@exeter.ac.uk.