Mitochondrial DNA D-loop sequencing reveals obesity variants in an Arab population

Muthukrishnan Eaaswarkhanth, Motasem Melhem, Prem Sharma, Rasheeba Nizam, Ashraf Al Madhoun, Gyaneshwer Chaubey, Osama Alsmadi, Fahd Al-Mulla

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Background: The association of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variations with obesity has been investigated in diverse populations across the world. However, such obesity-associated mtDNA examinations are rarely conducted in Arab populations. Materials and methods: We re-sequenced mtDNA displacement loop (D-loop) region of 395 Arab individuals of Kuwait. We categorized the individuals based on their BMI scores as obese (n=232; BMI ≥30 kg/m2), overweight (n=110; BMI ≥25 kg/m2 and <30 kg/m2), and lean (n=53; BMI <25 kg/m2). We performed all the statistical tests by combining obese and overweight individuals in one group. Association analyses were conducted applying Fisher's exact test and logistic regression model. Results: We identified that the mtDNA variations m.73A>G, and m.523delAC were positively correlated with obesity, while m.310T>C, and m.16318A>T were negatively associated. All these variants, except m.16318A>T, remain statistically significant after adjusting for age and gender. We found that the variant m.73A>G increases the likelihood of being obese by 6-fold, whereas haplogroup H decreases the probability of being obese in Arab individuals of Kuwait. Haplotype analysis revealed that a haplotype, A263G-C309CT-T310C, defining the H2a clade of H haplogroup, reduces the probability of being obese. Conclusion: Our study reports, for the first time, the obesity-related mtDNA variants in Arabs of Kuwait. Based on the mtDNA D-loop region variations, we detected particular variants and haplogroup that are related with increased and decreased probability of being obese in the Kuwait Arab population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63
Number of pages70
JournalApplication of Clinical Genetics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2019


  • obesity, mitochondrial DNA, D-loop, haplogroup, haplotype, SNVs


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