BACKGROUND - Success in further reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is threatened by the increasing prevalence of obesity-related atherogenic dyslipidemia. HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) level is inversely correlated with CVD risk; each 1 mg/dl decrease in HDL-C is associated with a 6% reduction in risk. We previously showed that a common CNR1 haplotype, H3 (frequency 20%), is protective against the reduction in HDL-C that typically accompanies weight gain. In the present study, we extend that observation by reporting the effect of CNR1 haplotype on HDL-C response to modification of dietary fat intake in weight maintenance and weight loss.
METHODS - Six haplotype tagging SNPs that cover the CNR1 gene locus were genotyped in 590 adults of varying body mass index (cohort 1 is 411 males with BMI 18.5-30.0 kg/m(2); cohort 2 is 71 females with BMI18.5-30.0 kg/m(2); and cohort 3 is 108 females with BMI 30-39.9 kg/m(2)). Dietary intakes were modified so that fat intake in the "high fat" condition was 15-20% greater than in the "low fat" condition, and lipid profiles were compared between carriers versus noncarriers for each of the five commonly observed CNR1 haplotypes (H1-H5).
RESULTS - In normal to overweight subjects on eucaloric diets, the H3 haplotype was significantly associated with short-term high fat diet induced changes in HDL-C level in females (carriers 5.9 mg/dl>noncarriers, p = 0.007). The H3 haplotype was also significantly associated with HDL-C level after 16 weeks on high fat calorie restricted diet in obese females (carriers 6.8 mg/dl>noncarriers, p = 0.009).
CONCLUSION - Variability within the CNR1 gene locus contributes to gender-related differences in the HDL-cholesterol response to change in dietary fat intake. Functional characterization of this relationship in vitro may offer insights that potentially yield therapeutic guidance targeting dietary macronutrient composition, a direction much needed in the current epidemic of obesity.