Background: Obesity is a reported risk factor for various health problems. Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have identified numerous independent loci associated with body mass index (BMI). However, most of these have been focused on Europeans, and little evidence is available on the genetic effects across the life course of other ethnicities. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study to examine the associations of 282 GWAS-identified single nucleotide polymorphisms with three BMI-related traits, current BMI, BMI at 20 years old (BMI at 20), and change in BMI (BMI change), among 11,586 Japanese individuals enrolled in the Japan Multi-Institutional Collaborative Cohort study. Associations were examined using multivariable linear regression models. Results: We found a significant association (P < 0.05=282 = 1.77 × 10−4) between BMI and 11 polymorphisms in or near FTO, BDNF, TMEM18, HS6ST3, and BORCS7. The trend was similar between current BMI and BMI change, but differed from that of the BMI at 20. Among the significant variants, those on FTO were associated with all BMI traits, whereas those on TMEM18 and HS6SR3 were only associated with BMI at 20. The association of FTO loci with BMI remained, even after additional adjustment for dietary energy intake. Conclusions: Previously reported BMI-associated loci discovered in Europeans were also identified in the Japanese population. Additionally, our results suggest that the effects of each loci on BMI may vary across the life course and that this variation may be caused by the differential effects of individual genes on BMI via different pathways.
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