Genome-wide DNA promoter methylation and transcriptome analysis in human adipose tissue unravels novel candidate genes for obesity

Keller M. et al.


DNA methylation plays an important role in obesity and related metabolic complications. We examined genome-wide DNA promoter methylation along with mRNA profiles in paired samples of human subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) and omental visceral adipose tissue (OVAT) from non-obese vs. obese individuals.


We identified negatively correlated methylation and expression of several obesity-associated genes in our discovery dataset and in silico replicated ETV6 in two independent cohorts. Further, we identified six adipose tissue depot-specific genes (HAND2, HOXC6, PPARG, SORBS2, CD36, and CLDN1). The effects were further supported in additional independent cohorts. Our top hits might play a role in adipogenesis and differentiation, obesity, lipid metabolism, and adipose tissue expandability. Finally, we show that in vitro methylation of SORBS2 directly represses gene expression.


Taken together, our data show distinct tissue specific epigenetic alterations which associate with obesity.

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November, 2016


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