Clinical correlations and genetic associations of metabolic syndrome in the United Arab Emirates
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Background: Metabolic syndrome (MetS) contributes to increased risk of morbidity and mortality. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a high prevalence of MetS which may be linked to modifiable and genetic risk factors in the local population. The association between MetS as a phenotype and key genetic variants in the UAE has not been investigated. This study reports on the clinical, biochemical and genetic associations of MetS and its risk factors to improve individualized medicine outcomes.
Methods: There were 471 subjects included in this cross-sectional study, 367 with MetS and 104 without MetS. Along with clinical and laboratory parameters, multiple risk genetic variants were tested for their association with MetS, which include 49 variants that have previously been shown to be linked with MetS development as a phenotype, 116 variants for association with waist-hip ratio (WHR), 398 variants with body-mass index (BMI), 213 variants with T2DM and insulin resistance, 307 variants with different lipid traits, 308 variants with blood pressure traits, and 64 variants with coronary and cerebrovascular accidents.
Results: Patients with MetS had higher rates of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), hypertension and dyslipidemia (p < 0.0001). Waist circumference and T2DM were identified as the key risk factors for MetS development. Individuals with MetS were also found to have a higher rate of clinical complications than those without MetS (76% vs. 52%). Several gene variants including those of the FTO gene were found to be associated with a predisposition to developing MetS or some of its components (PFTO ~0.005–0.009).
Conclusions: This study showed associations between MetS as well as clinical factors contributing to MetS and specific genetic and metabolic risk factors, providing an insight into the metabolic and genetic links to disease development. Knowledge with respect to population specific risk markers including at risk genotypes will help in early identification of individuals with increased susceptibility to MetS in the UAE and provide the opportunity for timely intervention to prevent or delay the onset of MetS.