Objective: Epigenetic modifications contribute to the etiology of type 2 diabetes. Method: We performed genome-wide methylome and transcriptome analysis in liver from severely obese men with or without type 2 diabetes and non-obese men to discover aberrant pathways underlying the development of insulin resistance. Results were validated by pyrosequencing. Result: We identified hypomethylation of genes involved in hepatic glycolysis and insulin resistance, concomitant with increased mRNA expression and protein levels. Pyrosequencing revealed the CpG-site within ATF-motifs was hypomethylated in four of these genes in liver of severely obese non-diabetic and type 2 diabetic patients, suggesting epigenetic regulation of transcription by altered ATF-DNA binding. Conclusion: Severely obese non-diabetic and type 2 diabetic patients have distinct alterations in the hepatic methylome and transcriptome, with hypomethylation of several genes controlling glucose metabolism within the ATF-motif regulatory site. Obesity appears to shift the epigenetic program of the liver towards increased glycolysis and lipogenesis, which may exacerbate the development of insulin resistance.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)