The Journal of nutrition

PNPLA3 I148M Variant Influences Circulating Retinol in Adults with Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease or Obesity.

PMID 26136587


Retinol is a lipid-soluble essential nutrient that is stored as retinyl esters in lipid droplets of hepatic stellate cells. Patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing 3 (PNPLA3), through its retinyl-palmitate lipase activity, releases retinol from lipid droplets in hepatic stellate cells in vitro and ex vivo. We have shown that the genetic variant I148M (rs738409) reduces the PNPLA3 retinyl-palmitate lipase activity. The aim of the present genetic association study was to test whether overweight/obese carriers of the PNPLA3 148M mutant allele had lower circulating concentrations of retinol than individuals who are homozygous for the 148I allele. PNPLA3 I148M (rs738409) was genotyped by Taqman assay in 76 overweight/obese individuals [BMI (kg/m(2)) ≥25; mean ± SD age: 59.7 ± 11.4 y; male gender: 70%] with a histologic diagnosis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD; namely the Milan NAFLD cohort) and in 413 obese men (BMI ≥30; mean ± SD age: 57.1 ± 4.9 y) from the α-Tocopherol, β-Carotene Cancer Prevention (ATBC) Study. Serum concentrations of retinol and α-tocopherol were measured by HPLC in both cohorts. β-Carotene concentrations in the ATBC study were measured by using HPLC. The PNPLA3 148M mutant allele was associated with lower fasting circulating concentrations of retinol (β = -0.289, P = 0.03) in adults with NAFLD (Milan NAFLD cohort). The PNPLA3 148M mutant allele was also associated with lower fasting circulating concentrations of retinol in adults with a BMI ≥30 (ATBC study; β = -0.043, P = 0.04). We showed for the first time, to our knowledge, that carriers of the PNPLA3 148M allele with either fatty liver plus obesity or obesity alone have lower fasting circulating retinol concentrations.