Understanding the molecular aspects of oriental obesity pattern differentiation using DNA microarray

J Transl Med. 2015 Oct 19:13:331. doi: 10.1186/s12967-015-0692-9.


Background: Human constitution, the fundamental basis of oriental medicine, is categorized into different patterns for a particular disease according to the physical, physiological, and clinical characteristics of the individuals. Obesity, a condition of metabolic disorder, is classified according to six patterns in oriental medicine, as follows: spleen deficiency syndrome, phlegm fluid syndrome, yang deficiency syndrome (YDS), food accumulation syndrome (FAS), liver depression syndrome (LDS), and blood stasis syndrome. In oriental medicine, identification of the disease pattern for individual obese patients is performed on the basis of differentiation in obesity syndrome index and, accordingly, personalized treatment is provided to the patients. The aim of the current study was to understand the obesity patterns in oriental medicine from the genomic point of view via determining the gene expression signature of obese patients using peripheral blood mononuclear cells as the samples.

Methods: The study was conducted in 23 South Korean obese subjects (19 female and four male) with BMI ≥25 kg/m(2). Identification of oriental obesity pattern was based on the software-guided evaluation of the responses of the subjects to a questionnaire developed by the Korean Institute of Oriental Medicine. The expression profiles of genes were determined using DNA microarray and the level of transcription of genes of interest was further evaluated using quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR).

Results and conclusion: Gene clustering analysis of the microarray data from the FAS, LDS, and YDS subjects exhibited disease pattern-specific upregulation of expression of several genes in a particular cluster. Further analysis of transcription of selected genes using qRT-PCR led to identification of specific genes, including prostaglandin endoperoxide synthase 2, G0/G1 switch 2, carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule 3, cystein-serine-rich nuclear protein 1, and interleukin 8 receptor, alpha which were highly expressed in LDS obesity constitution. Our current study can be considered as a valuable contribution to the understanding of possible explanation for obesity pattern differentiation in oriental medicine. Further studies can address a novel possibility that the genomic and oriental empirical approaches can be combined and implemented in systematic and synergistic development of personalized medicine. This clinical trial was registered in Clinical Research Information Service of Korea National Institute of Health ( https://cris.nih.go.kr/cris/index.jsp ).

Registration number: KCT0000387.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / cytology*
  • Male
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis*
  • Precision Medicine
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology

Associated data

  • CRiS/KCT0000387