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The leptin signal is transduced via the JAK2-STAT3 (Janus kinase 2-signal transducer and activator of transcription-3) pathway at the leptin receptor. JAK2 also phosphorylates insulin receptor substrate, integral to insulin and leptin action and is required for optimum adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1)-dependent transport of lipids from cells to apolipoprotein A-1 (apoA-I). We hypothesized that common variation in the JAK2 gene may be associated with body fat, insulin sensitivity, and modulation of the serum lipid profile in the general population. Ten tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) spanning the gene were genotyped in 2,760 white female twin subjects (mean age 47.3 +/- 12.6 years) from the St Thomas' UK Adult Twin Registry. Minor allele frequencies were between 0.170 and 0.464. The major allele of rs7849191 was associated with higher central fat (P = 0.030), percentage of central fat (P = 0.014) and waist circumference (P = 0.027) the major allele of rs3780378 with higher serum apoA (P = 0.026), total cholesterol (P = 0.014), low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (P = 0.012) and lower triglyceride (P = 0.023). However, no associations were significant at a level which took account of multiple testing. Although JAK2 is a critical element in leptin and insulin signaling and has a role in cellular cholesterol transport, we failed to establish associations of common SNPs with relevant phenotypes in this human study.

Original publication




Journal article


Obesity (Silver Spring)

Publication Date





492 - 496


Adipose Tissue, Adult, Female, Gene Frequency, Humans, Insulin Resistance, Janus Kinase 2, Lipid Metabolism, Middle Aged, Phenotype, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Twins, Dizygotic, Twins, Monozygotic