European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 1381–1389 | Cite as

A circadian rhythm-related MTNR1B genetic variant modulates the effect of weight-loss diets on changes in adiposity and body composition: the POUNDS Lost trial

  • Leticia Goni
  • Dianjianyi Sun
  • Yoriko Heianza
  • Tiange Wang
  • Tao Huang
  • J. Alfredo Martínez
  • Xiaoyun Shang
  • George A. Bray
  • Steven R. Smith
  • Frank M. Sacks
  • Lu QiEmail author
Original Contribution



A common variant of the melatonin receptor 1B (MTNR1B) gene has been related to increased signaling of melatonin, a hormone previously associated with body fatness mainly through effects on energy metabolism. We examined whether the MTNR1B variant affects changes of body fatness and composition in response to a dietary weight loss intervention.


The MTNR1B rs10830963 variant was genotyped for 722 overweight and obese individuals, who were randomly assigned to one of four diets varying in macronutrient composition. Anthropometric and body composition measurements (DXA scan) were collected at baseline and at 6 and 24 months of follow-up.


Statistically significant interactions were observed between the MTNR1B genotype and low-/high-fat diet on changes in weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC) and total body fat (p interaction = 0.01, 0.02, 0.002 and 0.04, respectively), at 6 months of dietary intervention. In the low-fat diet group, increasing number of the sleep disruption-related G allele was significantly associated with a decrease in weight (p = 0.004), BMI (p = 0.005) and WC (p = 0.001). In the high-fat diet group, carrying the G allele was positively associated with changes in body fat (p = 0.03). At 2 years, the associations remained statistically significant for changes in body weight (p = 0.02), BMI (p = 0.02) and WC (p = 0.048) in the low-fat diet group, although the gene–diet interaction became less significant.


The results suggest that carriers of the G allele of the MTNR1B rs10830963 may have a greater improvement in body adiposity and fat distribution when eating a low-fat diet.


Melatonin receptor 1B Gene–diet interaction High-fat diet Weight-loss intervention Adiposity 



The authors thank all participants of the study for their dedication and contribution to the research. The study is supported by grants from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (HL-071981, HL-034594, HL-126024), the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (DK-091718, DK-100383, DK-078616), the Boston Obesity Nutrition Research Center (DK-46200), and United States–Israel Binational Science Foundation Grant 2011036. LG is a recipient of a pre-doctoral and a mobility grant from the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. YH is a recipient of a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. LQ was a recipient of the American Heart Association Scientist Development Award (0730094N).

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical standards

All procedures of the present study were in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments. The study was approved by the human subjects committee at each institution and by a data and safety monitoring board appointed by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Informed consent

All participants provided written informed consent.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

394_2018_1660_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (65 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 64 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leticia Goni
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dianjianyi Sun
    • 3
  • Yoriko Heianza
    • 3
  • Tiange Wang
    • 3
  • Tao Huang
    • 4
  • J. Alfredo Martínez
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
    • 6
  • Xiaoyun Shang
    • 7
  • George A. Bray
    • 8
  • Steven R. Smith
    • 8
  • Frank M. Sacks
    • 9
  • Lu Qi
    • 3
    • 9
    • 10
    • 11
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Nutrition, Food Sciences and Physiology, Faculty of Pharmacy and NutritionUniversity of NavarraPamplonaSpain
  2. 2.Faculty of Pharmacy and Nutrition, Centre for Nutrition ResearchUniversity of NavarraPamplonaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Tropical MedicineTulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA
  4. 4.Epidemiology Domain, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health and Department of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of MedicineNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  5. 5.Biomedical Research Centre Network in Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBERobn)Institute of Health Carlos IIIMadridSpain
  6. 6.Navarra Institute for Health ResearchPamplonaSpain
  7. 7.Children’s Hospital New OrleansNew OrleansUSA
  8. 8.Pennington Biomedical Research CenterLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  9. 9.Department of NutritionHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  10. 10.Department of EpidemiologyHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  11. 11.Channing LaboratoryBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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