Identification of an Interactive Effect of β3- and α2b-Adrenoceptor Gene Polymorphisms on Fat Mass in Caucasian Women

  1. Isabelle J. Dionne,
  2. Amy N. Turner,
  3. André Tchernof,
  4. Toni I. Pollin,
  5. Dionyssia Avrithi,
  6. Daniel Gray,
  7. Alan R. Shuldiner and
  8. Eric T. Poehlman
  1. From the Clinical Pharmacology and Metabolic Research Unit (I.J.D., A.N.T., A.T., E.T.P.), Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont; and the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition (T.I.P., D.A., D.G., A.R.S.), Department of Medicine and Baltimore Veterans Affairs Geriatric Research and Education Clinical Center, Department of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Eric T. Poehlman, PhD, Given Bldg. C-247, College of Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405. E-mail: epoehlma{at} .


Several adrenoceptor subtypes are expressed in adipocytes, which together exert their influence on adipocyte metabolism. Therefore, we specifically examined the interactive effect of Trp64Arg (β3) and Glu12/Glu92b) adrenoceptor (AR) polymorphisms on energy metabolism and body composition in healthy women with a wide range of body habitus. We genotyped 909 unrelated women (age 55 ± 12 [mean ± SD] years, range 19-87; body weight 88 ± 22 kg, range 40-167; and BMI 33 ± 8 kg/m2, range 16-64) for Trp64Arg β3AR and Glu12/Glu9 α2bAR variants. We examined the independent effect of the Glu12/Glu9 α2bAR variant on body composition and energy balance, in a large cohort of Caucasian women (n = 909). A second goal was to examine the interaction effect of Glu12/Glu9 α2bAR and Trp64Arg β3AR on the same phenotypes. The obesity-related phenotypes studied were as follows: body weight, BMI, fat mass, visceral fat, fat-free mass, resting metabolic rate (RMR), Vo2max, leisure time physical activity, and daily energy intake. Body composition and body fat distribution were measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and radiographic imagery, Vo2max by a treadmill test to exhaustion, and RMR by indirect calorimetry. An analysis of covariance indicated that in the entire cohort, there was no significant difference between Glu12/Glu9 α2bAR carriers and control subjects for any of the obesity-related phenotypes that were examined. However, we observed a significant interaction effect of the Trp64Arg and Glu12/Glu9 variants on fat mass (P = 0.009) and percent fat (P = 0.016). Age, height, body weight, BMI, fat-free mass, visceral fat, energy expenditure, respiratory quotient, physical fitness, and energy intake were not different among groups. Collectively, these findings support an interaction effect of the two adrenoceptor variants on body fatness in Caucasian women, although the physiological mechanism by which they exert this effect remains to be determined.


  • AR, adrenoceptor; CT, computed tomography; DEXA, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry; LTA, leisure time physical activity; PCR, polymerase chain reaction; RMR, resting metabolic rate; UV, ultraviolet.

    • Accepted September 21, 2000.
    • Received January 18, 2000.
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