Association of PNPLA3 I148M with Liver Disease Biomarkers in Latinos

Jonathan D. Roe, Luis A. Garcia, Yann C. Klimentidis, Dawn K. Coletta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Liver disease accounts for approximately 2 million deaths per year worldwide. The majority of liver diseases are due to complications of cirrhosis, viral hepatitis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Increased levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) may indicate liver disease. Moreover, there are additional noninvasive liver fibrosis indices that help to estimate liver damage, including AST-to-ALT ratio, AST-to-platelet ratio index (APRI), fibrosis-4 (FIB-4) score, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) fibrosis score. The aims of the present study were to (1) perform an association analysis of the patatin-like phospholipase domain containing 3 (PNPLA3) I148M (rs738409) variant with ALT, AST, and various liver fibrosis indices, and (2) determine whether there are gender-related differences in these associations. Methods: We obtained demographic, anthropometric, and metabolic phenotypes from Latino adult participants (n = 503, 64% female, 36.4 ± 0.5 years) from the Arizona Insulin Resistance (AIR) registry. SNP genotyping of I148M was performed using the TaqMan allelic discrimination assay. We used linear regression for the association analyses of the genotypes with ALT, AST, and the various liver fibrosis indices. We included genotype, age, body mass index, and alcohol status in the linear regression model. Results: The variant I148M was in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, with genotype distribution: non-risk CC 118, heterozygous CG 246, and risk GG 139. The G allele was significantly associated with increased ALT and AST levels (p = 7.8 × 10-7 and p = 9.7 × 10-6, respectively). Moreover, we showed that the G allele was significantly associated with higher APRI (p = 3.7 × 10-7) and FIB-4 score (p = 4.1 × 10-3). When we analyzed the data by gender, we observed similar significant trends for ALT, AST, and APRI (all, p < 0.01). In females, the G allele was significantly associated with increased FIB-4 score (p = 6.9 × 10-3), which was not observed in the males (p > 0.05). There was no association of the I148M variant with AST/ALT ratio nor NAFLD risk score, whether analyzed in all adults or by gender. Discussion/Conclusion: Our findings provide additional evidence of an association of PNPLA3 I148M with several liver disease biomarkers in male and female Latinos residing in the Southwest of the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-27
Number of pages7
JournalHuman Heredity
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Dec 8 2021


  • I148M
  • Latinos
  • Liver enzymes
  • PNPLA3
  • SNP genotyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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