Genetics of serum carotenoid concentrations and their correlation with obesity-related traits in Mexican American children

Vidya S. Farook, Lavanya Reddivari, Srinivas Mummidi, Sobha Puppala, Rector Arya, Juan Carlos Lopez-Alvarenga, Sharon P. Fowler, Geetha Chittoor, Roy G. Resendez, Birunda Mohan Kumar, Anthony G Comuzzie, Joanne E Curran, Donna M. Lehman, Christopher P Jenkinson, Jane L. Lynch, Ralph A. DeFronzo, John C Blangero, Daniel E. Hale, Ravindranath Duggirala, Jairam K.P. Vanamala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Dietary intake of phytonutrients present in fruits and vegetables, such as carotenoids, is associated with a lower risk of obesity and related traits, but the impact of genetic variation on these associations is poorly understood, especially in children. Objective: We estimated common genetic influences on serum carotenoid concentrations and obesity-related traits in Mexican American (MA) children. Design: Obesity-related data were obtained from 670 nondiabetic MA children, aged 6-17 y. Serum α- and β-carotenoid concentrations were measured in ∼570 (α-carotene in 565 and β-carotene in 572) of these children with the use of an ultraperformance liquid chromatography-photodiode array. We determined heritabilities for both carotenoids and examined their genetic relation with 10 obesity-related traits [body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, fat mass (FM), systolic and diastolic blood pressure, fasting insulin and glucose, and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance] by using family data and a variance components approach. For these analyses, carotenoid values were inverse normalized, and all traits were adjusted for significant covariate effects of age and sex. Results: Carotenoid concentrations were highly heritable and significant [α-carotene: heritability (h2) = 0.81, P = 6.7 3 10211; β-carotene: h2 = 0.90, P = 3.5 3 10215]. After adjusting for multiple comparisons, we found significant (P ≤ 0.05) negative phenotypic correlations between carotenoid concentrations and the following traits: BMI, WC, FM, and triglycerides (range: α-carotene = 20.19 to 20.12; β-carotene = 20.24 to 20.13) and positive correlations with HDL cholesterol (α-carotene = 0.17; β-carotene = 0.24). However, when the phenotypic correlations were partitioned into genetic and environmental correlations, we found marginally significant (P = 0.051) genetic correlations only between β-carotene and BMI (20.27), WC (20.30), and HDL cholesterol (0.31) after accounting for multiple comparisons. None of the environmental correlations were significant. Conclusions: The findings from this study suggest that the serum carotenoid concentrations were under strong additive genetic influences based on variance components analyses, and that the common genetic factors may influence b-carotene and obesity and lipid traits in MA children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-58
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Cardiometabolic traits
  • Childhood obesity
  • Common genetic influences
  • Heritability
  • α-carotene
  • β-carotene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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