Genes influence where excess body fat is stored

Published: 2019-01-21


A novel study led by Åsa Johansson (Uppsala University/SciLifeLab) reveals that genetic factors highly influence on whether your body stores fat around the arms, legs or trunk. The researchers have employed data from UK Biobank, a cohort study including half a million participants from the United Kingdom. Participants had given blood samples for genotyping as well as been subjected to measurements of body composition using impedance, i.e. measurements of electrical resistance as an electrical current is sent through the body.

Millions of genetic variants across the genome were tested for association with body fat distribution and the nearly a hundred genes that affect distribution of adipose tissue to different parts of the human body could be identified. The data also shows that the genetic effect is present predominantly in women and to a much lower extent in men. In the future, these results may lead to the development of therapeutic strategies for treatment of or reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease.

Read the full paper in Nature Communications

Read a press release by Uppsala University