The plasma level of the tumor necrosis factor-alpha receptor 2 (TNFR2) is associated with obesity phenotypes. However, the genetic polymorphisms for such an association have rarely been explored and are generally unknown. In this study, by employing a large sample of 1,873 subjects from 405 Caucasian nuclear families, we explored the association of 12 SNPs of the TNFR2 gene and obesity-related phenotypes, including body mass index (BMI), fat mass, and percentage fat mass (PFM). The within-family quantitative transmission disequilibrium test, which is robust to sample stratification, was implemented to evaluate the association of TNFR2 gene with obesity phenotypes. Evidence of association was obtained at SNP9 (rs5746059) with fat mass (P = 0.0002), BMI (P = 0.002), and PFM (P = 0.0006). The contribution of this polymorphism to the variation of fat mass and PFM was 6.24 and 7.82%, respectively. Individuals carrying allele A at the SNP9 site had a 4.6% higher fat mass and a 2.5% increased PFM compared to noncarriers. The results remained significant even after correction for multiple testing. Evidence of association between the TNFR2 gene and obesity phenotypes are also found in 700 independent Chinese Han and 1,000 random Caucasians samples. The results suggest that the TNFR2 gene polymorphisms contribute to the variation of obesity phenotypes.
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