Adiponectin is an adipocyte-derived protein that is down-regulated in obesity-linked disorders. Variants of the adiponectin gene (ADIPOQ) have been shown to affect adiponectin level. We have now examined the relation of polymorphisms of ADIPOQ to adiponectin concentration and to metabolic disorders in the Kita-Nagoya Genomic Epidemiology study, a population-based study of elderly Japanese. The genomic region including ADIPOQ was genotyped for 30 single nucleotide polymorphisms in 500 subjects of a screening population with the use of a fluorescence- or colorimetry-based allele-specific DNA primer-probe assay system. Four polymorphisms were then selected for genotyping in an additional 2797 subjects. Serum adiponectin level was negatively associated with metabolic abnormalities after adjustment for age and sex. The minor alleles of the rs1656930, Ile164Thr, and rs9882205 polymorphisms were associated with a low serum adiponectin level. Whereas the minor alleles of rs1656930 and rs9882205 were common (minor allele frequency of 6.2 and 38.5%, respectively), that of Ile164Thr was rare (0.9%). The minor allele of rs1656930 was positively associated with systolic blood pressure and the prevalence of hypertension. The association of rs1656930 with adiponectin level was replicated in an independent population. A subject with the 164Thr/Thr genotype had an extremely low serum adiponectin level (0.6 g/ml) and the phenotype of metabolic syndrome. Our results suggest that a common variant of ADIPOQ, the minor allele of rs1656930, is associated with hypoadiponectinemia and hypertension. Screening for a common genetic background underlying low adiponectin levels might provide important information for assessment and management of metabolic disorders.
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