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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 340241, 12 pages
Review Article

Genetic Variance in Uncoupling Protein 2 in Relation to Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and Related Metabolic Traits: Focus on the Functional −866G>A Promoter Variant (rs659366)

Department of Science, Systems and Models, Roskilde University, Universitetsvej 1, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark

Received 1 December 2010; Accepted 21 February 2011

Academic Editor: R. Prager

Copyright © 2011 Louise T. Dalgaard. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Uncoupling proteins (UCPs) are mitochondrial proteins able to dissipate the proton gradient of the inner mitochondrial membrane when activated. This decreases ATP-generation through oxidation of fuels and may theoretically decrease energy expenditure leading to obesity. Evidence from Ucp(−/−) mice revealed a role of UCP2 in the pancreatic β-cell, because β-cells without UCP2 had increased glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Thus, from being a candidate gene for obesity UCP2 became a valid candidate gene for type 2 diabetes mellitus. This prompted a series of studies of the human UCP2 and UCP3 genes with respect to obesity and diabetes. Of special interest was a promoter variant of UCP2 situated 866bp upstream of transcription initiation (−866G>A, rs659366). This variant changes promoter activity and has been associated with obesity and/or type 2 diabetes in several, although not all, studies. The aim of the current paper is to summarize current evidence of association of UCP2 genetic variation with obesity and type 2 diabetes, with focus on the −866G>A polymorphism.