Skip to content

Human study shows ‘aggressive drunk’ gene may protect carriers from obesity and associated risks.

It is known that genetics plays a role in obesity, with genes directly causing obesity in disorders such as Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome. However, genes and behaviour may both be needed for a person to be overweight.  Now, a study from researchers at the University of Helsinki identifies a genetic mutation which makes its bearers more likely to behave impulsively while intoxicated, which may also shield them from obesity and change the way testosterone impacts insulin resistance.  The team state that their results also suggest men in their thirties with antisocial personalities may constitute a risk group for insulin resistance, and consequently type 2 diabetes later in life.

Earlier studies from the lab demonstrated that a point mutation in a gene of serotonin 2B receptor can render the carrier prone to impulsive behaviour, particularly when drunk.  Over 100,000 Finns and more than 1,000 Finnish infants born every year are carriers of the point mutation in the serotonin 2B receptor.  The current study shows that the genetic mutation may also shield its carriers from obesity and insulin resistance, both of which are associated with type 2 diabetes.

The current study investigates the insulin sensitivity, beta cell activity and BMI of 98 Finnish men between the ages of 25 and 30, all of whom had been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. Results show that carriers of a point mutation in a gene of serotonin 2B receptor had a lower BMI and higher insulin sensitivity than persons without the mutation. The group explain that normally men with low testosterone levels are more susceptible to metabolic disorders, however, among carriers of the point mutation, this tendency was reversed with lower levels of testosterone increasing insulin sensitivity.

Data findings show that the point mutation and testosterone predicted lower BMI independently, however, an interaction between the point mutation and testosterone leads to increased insulin sensitivity among point mutation carriers with low testosterone levels. Results show that the point mutation also predicted reduced beta cell activity and enhanced glucose metabolism. The lab conclude that reduced serotonin 2B receptor function at low or normal testosterone levels may be protective of obesity.

The team surmise that their findings show the serotonin 2B receptor and testosterone have a role in energy metabolism.  For the future, the researchers state that as their results were observed among Finnish males with antisocial personality disorder, which limits the generality, more work is needed in the wider population.

Source: University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital

Get Healthinnovations delivered to your inbox:

Healthinnovations View All

Michelle Petersen is the founder of Healthinnovations, having worked in the health and science industry for over 21 years, which includes tenure within the NHS and Oxford University. Healthinnovations is a publication that has reported on, influenced, and researched current and future innovations in health for the past decade.

Michelle has been picked up as an expert writer for Informa publisher’s Clinical Trials community, as well as being listed as a blog source by the world’s leading medical journals, including the acclaimed Nature-Springer journal series.

Healthinnovations is currently indexed by the trusted Altmetric and PlumX metrics systems, respectively, as a blog source for published research globally. Healthinnovations is also featured in the world-renowned BioPortfolio,, the life science, pharmaceutical and healthcare portal.

Most recently the Texas A&M University covered The Top 10 Healthinnovations series on their site with distinguished Professor Stephen Maren calling the inclusion of himself and his team on the list a reflection of “the hard work and dedication of my students and trainees”.

Michelle Petersen’s copy was used in the highly successful marketing campaign for the mega-hit film ‘Jumanji: The Next Level, starring Jack Black, Karen Gilian, Kevin Hart and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Michelle Petersen’s copywriting was part of the film’s coverage by the Republic TV network. Republic TV is the most-watched English language TV channel in India since its inception in 2017.

An avid campaigner in the fight against child sex abuse and trafficking, Michelle is a passionate humanist striving for a better quality of life for all humans by helping to provide traction for new technologies and techniques within healthcare.

One thought on “Human study shows ‘aggressive drunk’ gene may protect carriers from obesity and associated risks. Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Translate »