Objective:We hypothesized that genes within recently identified loci associated with waist-hip ratio (WHR) exhibit fat depot-specific mRNA expression, which correlates with obesity-related traits.Methods:Adipose tissue (AT) mRNA expression of 6 genes (TBX15/WARS2, STAB1, PIGC, ZNRF3 and GRB14) within these loci showing coincident cis-expression quantitative trait loci was measured in 222 paired samples of human visceral (vis) and subcutaneous (sc) AT. The relationship of mRNA expression levels with obesity-related quantitative traits was assessed by Pearson's correlation analyses. Multivariate linear relationships were assessed by generalized linear regression models.Results:Whereas only PIGC, ZNFR3 and STAB1 mRNA expression in sc AT correlated nominally with WHR (P < 0.05, adjusted for age and sex), mRNA expression of all studied genes in at least one of the fat depots correlated significantly with vis and/or sc fat area (P ranging from 0.05 to 4.0 × 10 6 , adjusted for age and sex). Consistently, the transcript levels of WARS, PIGC and GRB14 were nominally associated with body mass index (BMI) (P ranging from 0.02 to 9.2 × 10 5 , adjusted for age and sex). Moreover, independent of sex, obesity and diabetes status, differential expression between vis and sc AT was observed for all tested genes (P < 0.01). Finally, the rs10195252 T-allele was nominally associated with increased GRB14 sc mRNA expression (P=0.025 after adjusting for age, sex and BMI).Conclusions:Our data including the inter-depot variability of mRNA expression suggests that genes within the WHR-associated loci might be involved in the regulation of fat distribution. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Original publication




Journal article


International Journal of Obesity

Publication Date





120 - 125