'Thin gene' may increase risk of heart problems

June 27th 2011

A so-called 'thin gene' which is linked with having less body fat could increase people's risk of developing heart problems, it has been claimed.

Research conducted by the UK's Medical Research Council and featured in the journal Nature Genetics found that the IRS1 gene is associated with higher blood glucose and cholesterol levels, both of which can lead to heart disease.

Over the course of the study, the research team looked at over 75,000 people included in 26 studies from across the globe.

They suggested that people with the 'thin gene' may store their fat in parts of the body where it interferes with organ function, rather than under the skin.

"Although our genetic make-up can help to determine whether we're predisposed to certain diseases, we mustn't forget that what we eat and how active we are also plays a vital role in maintaining good health," commented lead researcher Dr Ruth Loos.

Previously, the IRS1 gene has been linked to better diabetes treatment.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

1. "Genetic variation near IRS1 associates with reduced adiposity and an impaired metabolic profile", Ruth J F Loos, Tuomas O Kilpeläinen, M Carola Zillikens, Alena Stančákova, Francis M Finucane, Janina S Ried, Claudia Langenberg, Weihua Zhang, Jacques S Beckmann, Jian'an Luan, Liesbeth Vandenput, Unnur Styrkarsdottir, Yanhua Zhou, Albert Vernon Smith, Jing-Hua Zhao, Najaf Amin, Sailaja Vedantam, So-Youn Shin, Talin Haritunians, Mao Fu, Mary F Feitosa, Meena Kumari, Bjarni V Halldorsson, Emmi Tikkanen, Massimo Mangino, Caroline Hayward et al, Nature Genetics (2011)

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