DOI: 10.3390/nu16060821 ISSN: 2072-6643

Effect of the rs2821557 Polymorphism of the Human Kv1.3 Gene on Olfactory Function and BMI in Different Age Groups

Melania Melis, Mariano Mastinu, Giorgia Sollai
  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

The sense of smell plays an important role in influencing the eating habits of individuals and consequently, their body weight, and its impairment has been associated with modified eating behaviors and malnutrition problems. The inter-individual variability of olfactory function depends on several factors, including genetic and physiological ones. In this study, we evaluated the role of the Kv1.3 channel genotype and age, as well as their mutual relationships, on the olfactory function and BMI of individuals divided into young, adult and elderly groups. We assessed olfactory performance in 112 healthy individuals (young n = 39, adult n = 36, elderly n = 37) based on their TDI olfactory score obtained through the Sniffin’ Sticks test and their BMI. Participants were genotyped for the rs2821557 polymorphism of the human gene encoding Kv1.3 channels, the minor C allele of which was associated with a decreased sense of smell and higher BMIs compared to the major T allele. The results show that TT homozygous subjects obtained higher TDI olfactory scores and showed lower BMIs than CC homozygous subjects, in all age groups considered. Furthermore, the positive effect of the T allele on olfactory function and BMI decreased with increasing age. The contribution of the genetic factor is less evident with advancing age, while the importance of the age factor is compensated for by genetics. These results show that genetic and physiological factors such as age act to balance each other.

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