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Cardiovascular Risk and Diseases in Patients With and Without Leptin-Melanocortin Pathway Variants

Published:December 20, 2022DOI:



      To study differences in cardiovascular risk factors and diseases between patients with and without genetic variants in the leptin-melanocortin pathway.


      A cross-sectional study of patients with a history of severe obesity genotyped in June 2019 as participants of the Mayo Clinic Biobank was conducted in March 2022 to assess differences in cardiovascular risk and diseases between carriers of a heterozygous variant in the leptin-melanocortin pathway and noncarriers. Cardiovascular risk factors included hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, and smoking. Cardiovascular disease includes coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, and cerebrovascular accidents. Patients with a history of bariatric surgery were excluded. We used logistic regression models to estimate the odds ratio and 95% CI, adjusting for age, body mass index (BMI), and sex.


      Among a total of 168 carriers (8%; 121 [72%] female; mean [SD] age, 65.1 [14.9] years; BMI, 44.0 [7.4] kg/m2) and 2039 noncarriers (92%; 1446 [71%] female; mean [SD] age, 64.9 [14.4] years; BMI, 42.9 [6.6] kg/m2), carriers had higher prevalence odds of hypertension (odds ratio, 3.26; 95% CI, 2.31 to 4.61; P<.001) and reported higher number of cardiovascular risk factors compared with noncarriers (2.4 [1.1] vs 2.0 [1.1]; P<.001). There were no significant differences in the adjusted odds associated with diabetes, dyslipidemia, smoking, or cardiovascular disease.


      Despite having similar body weight and BMI, carriers of heterozygous variants in the leptin-melanocortin pathway had higher rates of hypertension than noncarriers. These findings point to an association between hypertension and leptin-melanocortin pathway variants.

      Abbreviations and Acronyms:

      BMI (body mass index), CVD (cardiovascular disease), MC4R (melanocortin 4 receptor), OR (odds ratio), POMC (proopiomelanocortin)
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