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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Mental Health - Neurological Disorders - Pediatrics and Child Health - Public Health and Epidemiology

FTO at rs9939609, Food Responsiveness, Emotional Control and Symptoms of ADHD in Preschool Children
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Author: Fleur P. Velders et al.

by Fleur P. Velders, Jolanda E. De Wit, Pauline W. Jansen, Vincent W. V. Jaddoe, Albert Hofman, Frank C. Verhulst, Henning Tiemeier

The FTO minor allele at rs9939609 has been associated with body mass index (BMI: weight (kg)/height (m)2) in children from 5 years onwards, food intake, and eating behaviour. The high expression of FTO in the brain suggests that this gene may also be associated with behavioural phenotypes, such as impulsivity and control. We examined the effect of the FTO minor allele (A) at rs9939609 on eating behaviour, impulsivity and control in young children, thus before the BMI effect becomes apparent. This study was embedded in the Generation R Study, a population-based cohort from fetal life onwards. 1,718 children of European descent were genotyped for FTO at rs9939609. With logistic regression assuming an additive genetic model, we examined the association between the FTO minor allele and eating behaviour, impulsivity and control in preschool children. There was no relation between FTO at rs9939609 and child BMI at this age. The A allele at rs9939609 was associated with increased food responsiveness (OR 1.21, p?=?0.03). Also, children with the A allele were less likely to have symptoms of ADHD (OR 0.74, p?=?0.01) and showed more emotional control (OR 0.64, p?=?0.01) compared to children without the A allele. Our findings suggest that before the association between FTO and BMI becomes apparent, the FTO minor allele at rs9939609 leads to increased food responsiveness, a decreased risk for symptoms of ADHD and better emotional control. Future studies are needed to investigate whether these findings represent one single mechanism or reflect pleiotropic effects of FTO.
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