Background: Ghrelin, in humans, is a hormone secreted from the stomach with an orexigenic effect, which is good for digestion and absorption, as well as regulating physical growth, metabolism, and energy balance. It is also involved in the development of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). This study assessed the association between single nucleotide variants of the GHRL gene and the risk of metabolic syndrome in a Han Chinese population.
Methods: A case-control study was performed on 3780 Han Chinese comprising 1813 MetS cases and 1967 controls. Three missense polymorphisms in GHRL (rs26802, rs10490816, and rs696217) were selected, and the association between these polymorphisms and the risk of MetS was investigated. Metabolic syndrome was defined according to the criteria of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).
Results: Using Pearson’s 2 test, we found that there were no significant differences in genotype distributions and allele frequencies between cases and controls (all p > 0.05). There were also no significant differences in haplotype distributions between MetS cases and healthy controls. Furthermore, we confirmed that rs26802 of the GHRL gene is associated with body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, systolic blood pressure (SBP), and fasting glucose; rs10490816 is associated with triglycerides (TG) and total cholesterol (TC); while rs696217 is associated with hip circumference and fasting glucose.
Conclusions: We concluded that mutations in the GHRL gene did not confer risk for MetS in our study population. Therefore, functional analysis and replication studies in other populations are needed to further investigate the exact role of the GHRL gene in MetS.