Energy balance and food intake: The role of PPARγ gene polymorphisms

Joanne E. Cecil (Lead / Corresponding author), Peter W. Watt, Colin N. Palmer, Marion Hetherington

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    64 Citations (Scopus)


    Mechanisms regulating energy balance involve complex interactions between genetic, environmental and behavioural (learnt and intrinsic) factors. Genotype may drive the partitioning of energy metabolism and predispose to site-specific adiposity, culminating in a state of energy imbalance. One candidate gene with a direct link to adiposity is the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARG) gene. PPARG is a cell nuclear receptor expressed almost exclusively in adipose tissue that regulates adipocyte differentiation, lipid metabolism and insulin sensitivity. PPARγ appears to be a key regulator of energy balance, with polymorphisms on the PPARG gene linked to obesity and effects on body composition. Our research has confirmed an association between the pro12ala allele and reduced incidence of obesity in pre-pubertal children and there are strong associations between genetic variation at the PPARG locus and percentage body fat. Moreover, our evidence suggests that PPARG C-681G and pro12ala polymorphisms display opposing effects in terms of growth phenotype, with pro12Ala associated with deficient energy utilisation, leading to reduced growth and the G-681 variant associated with accelerated growth compared with wildtypes. Common differences in this gene have also been associated with variations in body weight in response to dietary macronutrients. Preliminary evidence suggests that PPARG variants may even be involved in the control of short term energy compensation. Taken together these data suggest that the role of PPARG is varied and complex, influencing fat deposition and growth velocity early in life, with potential impact in the control of energy intake and appetite regulation, and could provide a key target for future research and anti-obesity agents.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)227-233
    Number of pages7
    JournalPhysiology and Behavior
    Issue number3
    Early online date13 Jun 2006
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2006


    • Energy balance
    • Food intake
    • Gene polymorphisms
    • PPARG

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
    • Behavioral Neuroscience


    Dive into the research topics of 'Energy balance and food intake: The role of PPARγ gene polymorphisms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this