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GWAS Links More Than a Dozen Loci to Lipedema

Researchers have uncovered a more than a dozen loci associated with lipedema, or the accumulation of subcutaneous fat tissue in the legs, hips, and buttocks. Lipedema, which is most common among adult women, can be painful and affect mobility. In their new the European Journal of Human Genetics study, researchers from the University of Arizona and elsewhere used data from the UK Biobank to conduct a genome-wide association study of lipedema through which they identified 18 loci associated with the condition, including ones that have been linked in other GWAS to hip-to-waist ratio. In a separate case/control study cohort of lipedema from the UK, they further replicated two of those loci, VEGFA and GRB14-COBLL1. Both VEGFA and GRB14-COBLL1 have been tied to hip-to-waist ratio as well as to cardiometabolic traits and diseases and to fat distribution patterns. "We hope that these loci and the genes and tissues that they implicate will provide starting points towards a better understanding of the pathophysiology of lipedema, and eventually to treatment and prevention approaches," the researchers write.