Genetic variations of the bitter taste receptor TAS2R38 are associated with obesity and impact on single immune traits

Francisco J. Ortega, Zaida Agüera, Mònica Sabater, José M. Moreno-Navarrete, Isabel Alonso-Ledesma, Gemma Xifra, Patricia Botas, Elías Delgado, Susana Jimenez-Murcia, José C. Fernández-García, Francisco J. Tinahones, Rosa M. Baños, Cristina Botella, Rafael de la Torre, Gema Frühbeck, Amaia Rodrigüez, Xavier P. Estivill, Felipe Casanueva, Wifredo Ricart, Fernando Fernández-ArandaJosé M. Fernández-Real

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


Scope: Changes in genetic variations affecting the taste receptor, type 2, member 38 (TAS2R38) may identify the interacting mechanism leading to obesity and potential associations with proteins partaking in innate immunity, such as surfactant protein D (SPD) and mannan-binding lectin (MBL). Methods and results: We evaluated haplotypes of the bitter-taste receptor TAS2R38 in an identification sample of 210 women in different weight conditions, including anorexia nervosa and obesity. The association with SPD and MBL was tested in an independent sample picturing general population (n = 534). The relationship with obesity was validated in an extended final sample of 1319 participants. In the sample comprised of women in extreme weight conditions, increased obesity was identified in AVI/AVI subjects (OR = 2.5 [1.06–6.11], p = 0.035). In the sample picturing general population, increased SPD and MBL concentrations were found in nonsmoking AVI carriers. In this cohort, smoking and obesity blunted associations between TAS2R38 haplotypes and SPD and MBL. In the extended sample, the association of AVI/AVI haplotypes with increased obesity was also identified (OR = 1.4 [0.99/1.85], p = 0.049), being more robust in subjects aged <40 years (OR = 1.9 [1.06/3.42], p = 0.031). Conclusion: Current data reinforce the impact of TAS2R38 gene on phenotypic and clinical outputs affecting obesity, showing significant associations with extreme weight conditions (i.e., obesity and anorexia nervosa), and changes in both olfactory capacity and immune traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1673-1683
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Nutrition and Food Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • Haplotypes
  • Immune system
  • Mannose-binding lectin
  • Metabolism
  • Obesity
  • Surfactant protein D
  • Taste receptor type 2 member 38

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science

Cite this

Ortega, F. J., Agüera, Z., Sabater, M., Moreno-Navarrete, J. M., Alonso-Ledesma, I., Xifra, G., Botas, P., Delgado, E., Jimenez-Murcia, S., Fernández-García, J. C., Tinahones, F. J., Baños, R. M., Botella, C., de la Torre, R., Frühbeck, G., Rodrigüez, A., Estivill, X. P., Casanueva, F., Ricart, W., ... Fernández-Real, J. M. (2016). Genetic variations of the bitter taste receptor TAS2R38 are associated with obesity and impact on single immune traits. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, 60(7), 1673-1683.