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Type: Journal article
Title: Heterozygous rare genetic variants in non-syndromic early-onset obesity
Author: Serra-Juhé, C.
Martos-Moreno, G.
Bou de Pieri, F.
Flores, R.
Chowen, J.A.
Pérez-Jurado, L.A.
Argente, J.
Citation: International Journal of Obesity, 2020; 44(4):830-841
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Issue Date: 2020
ISSN: 0307-0565
Statement of
Clara Serra-Juhé, Gabriel Á. Martos-Moreno, Francesc Bou de Pieri, Raquel Flores, Julie A. Chowen, Luis A. Pérez-Jurado, Jesús Argente
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Obesity is a very heterogeneous disorder at both the clinical and molecular levels and with high heritability. Several monogenic forms and genes with strong effects have been identified for non-syndromic severe obesity. Novel therapeutic interventions are in development for some genetic forms, emphasizing the importance of determining genetic contributions. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to define the contribution of rare single-nucleotide genetic variants (RSVs) in candidate genes to non-syndromic severe early-onset obesity (EOO; body mass index (BMI) >+3 standard deviation score, <3 years). METHODS: Using a pooled DNA-sequencing approach, we screened for RSVs in 15 obesity candidate genes in a series of 463 EOO patients and 480 controls. We also analysed exome data from 293 EOO patients from the "Viva la Familia" (VLF) study as a replication dataset. RESULTS:Likely or known pathogenic RSVs were identified in 23 patients (5.0%), with 7 of the 15 genes (BDNF, FTO, MC3R, MC4R, NEGR1, PPARG and SIM1) harbouring RSVs only in cases (3.67%) and none in controls. All were heterozygous changes, either de novo (one in BDNF) or inherited from obese parents (seven maternal, three paternal), and no individual carried more than one variant. Results were replicated in the VLF study, where 4.10% of probands carried RSVs in the overrepresented genes. RSVs in five genes were either absent (LEP) or more common in controls than in cases (ADRB3, LEPR, PCSK1 and PCSK2) in both obese datasets. CONCLUSIONS: Heterozygous RSVs in several candidate genes of the melanocortin pathway are found in ~5.0% patients with EOO. These results support the clinical utility of genetic testing to identify patients who might benefit from targeted therapeutic intervention.
Keywords: Humans
Cohort Studies
Child, Preschool
Genetic Variation
Young Adult
Pediatric Obesity
Rights: © The Author(s) 2019. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
DOI: 10.1038/s41366-019-0357-5
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