Journal List > J Nutr Health > v.50(3) > 1081496

J Nutr Health. 2017 Jun;50(3):217-224. Korean.
Published online June 30, 2017.
© 2017 The Korean Nutrition Society
Salt-sensitive genes and their relation to obesity
Yong-Pil Cheon,1 and Myoungsook Lee2
1Division of Developmental Biology and Physiology, School of Bioscience and Chemistry, Sungshin Women's University, Seoul 01133, Korea.
2Department of Food and Nutrition, Sungshin Women's University, Seoul 01133, Korea.

To whom correspondence should be addressed. tel: +82-2-920-7211, Email:
Received May 19, 2017; Revised May 29, 2017; Accepted June 16, 2017.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



Although it is well known thatmortality and morbidity due to cardiovascular diseases are higher in salt-sensitive subjects than in salt-resistant subjects, their underlying mechanisms related to obesity remain unclear. Here, we focused on salt-sensitive gene variants unrelated to monogenic obesity that interacted with sodium intake in humans.


This review was written based on the modified 3rd step of Khans' systematic review. Instead of the literature, subject genes were based on candidate genes screened from our preliminary Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS). Finally, literature related to five genes strongly associated with salt sensitivity were analyzed to elucidate the mechanism of obesity.


Salt sensitivity is a measure of how blood pressure responds to salt intake, and people are either salt-sensitive or salt-resistant. Otherwise, dietary sodium restriction may not be beneficial for everyone since salt sensitivity may be associated with inherited susceptibility. According to our previous GWAS studies, 10 candidate genes and 11 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with salt sensitivity were suggested, including angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), α-adducin1 (ADD1), angiotensinogen (AGT), cytochrome P450 family 11-subfamily β-2 (CYP11β-2), epithelial sodium channel (ENaC), G-protein b3 subunit (GNB3), G protein-coupled receptor kinases type 4 (GRK4 A142V, GRK4 A486V), 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type-2 (HSD 11β-2), neural precursor cell-expressed developmentally down regulated 4 like (NEDD4L), and solute carrier family 12(sodium/chloride transporters)-member 3 (SLC 12A3). We found that polymorphisms of salt-sensitive genes such as ACE, CYP11β-2, GRK4, SLC12A3, and GNB3 may be positively associated with human obesity.


Despite gender, ethnic, and age differences in genetics studies, hypertensive obese children and adults who are carriers of specific salt-sensitive genes are recommended to reduce their sodium intake. We believe that our findings can contribute to the prevention of early-onset of chronic diseases in obese children by facilitating personalized diet-management of obesity from childhood to adulthood.

Keywords: sodium-sensitive genes; GWAS; obesity; hypertension


Table 1
The characteristics of the candidate genes on the prevalence of salt-sensitive hypertensive obesity
Click for larger image


This work was supported by grants from Sungshin Women's university Research Grant of 2016.

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