Association between brain-derived neurotrophic factor Val66Met and obesity in children and adolescents.Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2012; 36(1):136-40PN
Obesity in children and adolescents is a worldwide health problem, characterized by various somatic, psychosocial and psychiatric complications, and is often associated with adult obesity and related complications. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a neurotrophin with important roles in feeding behavior, food intake regulation, energy metabolism and weight control. A common polymorphism of the BDNF genotype (Val66Met) has been associated with various forms of eating disorders, alterations in body mass index (BMI) values and obesity in adult populations. The aim of this study was to determine the association between the gene variants of the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism and obesity in 300 healthy Caucasian children and adolescents of the same ethnic background of Croatian origin, subdivided according to the BMI percentile, but without any form of eating disorders. The frequency of the Met/Met, Met/Val and Val/Val genotypes, Met and Val alleles, and Met carriers (the combined Met/Met and Met/Val genotypes versus the homozygous Val/Val genotype) differed significantly between underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese children, and the presence of one or two Met alleles contributed to this significant effect. These results showed for the first time the significant association between the presence of one or two Met alleles and obesity in ethnically homogenous groups of healthy Caucasian children and adolescents. These data confirmed the major role of BDNF in energy metabolism, food regulation and BMI.