Genomic ancestry and education level independently influence abdominal fat distributions in a Brazilian admixed population.
PLoS ONE 2017 ; 12: e0179085.
PubMed ID : 28582437
PMCID : PMC5459508
We aimed to identify the independent associations of genomic ancestry and education level with abdominal fat distributions in the 1982 Pelotas birth cohort study, Brazil. In 2,890 participants (1,409 men and 1,481 women), genomic ancestry was assessed using genotype data on 370,539 genome-wide variants to quantify ancestral proportions in each individual. Years of completed education was used to indicate socio-economic position. Visceral fat depth and subcutaneous abdominal fat thickness were measured by ultrasound at age 29-31y; these measures were adjusted for BMI to indicate abdominal fat distributions. Linear regression models were performed, separately by sex. Admixture was observed between European (median proportion 85.3), African (6.6), and Native American (6.3) ancestries, with a strong inverse correlation between the African and European ancestry scores (ρ = -0.93; p<0.001). Independent of education level, African ancestry was inversely associated with both visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat distributions in men (both P = 0.001), and inversely associated with subcutaneous abdominal fat distribution in women (p = 0.009). Independent of genomic ancestry, higher education level was associated with lower visceral fat, but higher subcutaneous fat, in both men and women (all p<0.001). Our findings, from an admixed population, indicate that both genomic ancestry and education level were independently associated with abdominal fat distribution in adults. African ancestry appeared to lower abdominal fat distributions, particularly in men.