Obesity is associated with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (CVD). The severely obese population is heterogeneous regarding CVD risk profile. Our objective was to identify metabolic pathways potentially associated with development of metabolic syndrome (MetS) through an analysis of overrepresented pathways from differentially methylated genes between severely obese men with (MetS+) and without (MetS-) the MetS. Genome-wide quantitative DNA methylation analysis in VAT of severely obese men was carried out using the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip. Differences in methylation levels between MetS+ (n = 7) and MetS- (n = 7) groups were tested. Overrepresented pathways from the list of differentially methylated genes were identified and visualized with the Ingenuity Pathway Analysis system. Differential methylation analysis between MetS+ and MetS- groups identified 8,578 methylation probes (3,258 annotated genes) with significant differences in methylation levels (false discovery rate-corrected DiffScore ≥ |13| ∼ P ≤ 0.05). Pathway analysis from differentially methylated genes identified 41 overrepresented (P ≤ 0.05) pathways. The most overrepresented pathways were related to structural components of the cell membrane, inflammation and immunity and cell cycle regulation. This study provides potential targets associated with adipose tissue dysfunction and development of the MetS.
Keywords: epigenetics; metabolic syndrome; methylation; obesity; visceral adipose tissue.