FTO associations with obesity and telomere length

Yuling Zhou, Brett D. Hambly, Craig S. McLachlan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


This review examines the biology of the Fat mass- and obesity-associated gene (FTO), and the implications of genetic association of FTO SNPs with obesity and genetic aging. Notably, we focus on the role of FTO in the regulation of methylation status as possible regulators of weight gain and genetic aging. We present a theoretical review of the FTO gene with a particular emphasis on associations with UCP2, AMPK, RBL2, IRX3, CUX1, mTORC1 and hormones involved in hunger regulation. These associations are important for dietary behavior regulation and cellular nutrient sensing via amino acids. We suggest that these pathways may also influence telomere regulation. Telomere length (TL) attrition may be influenced by obesity-related inflammation and oxidative stress, and FTO gene-involved pathways. There is additional emerging evidence to suggest that telomere length and obesity are bi-directionally associated. However, the role of obesity risk-related genotypes and associations with TL are not well understood. The FTO gene may influence pathways implicated in regulation of TL, which could help to explain some of the non-consistent relationship between weight phenotype and telomere length that is observed in population studies investigating obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number65
JournalJournal of Biomedical Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Energy balance
  • FTO SNPs
  • Genetic polymorphism
  • Nutrient sensing
  • Obesity
  • Telomere length


Dive into the research topics of 'FTO associations with obesity and telomere length'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this