Objective/methods: 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.
Results: 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.
Conclusions: Taken together, our data show distinct tissue specific epigenetic alterations which associate with obesity.
Keywords: DNA methylation; Epigenetic mechanisms; Human adipose tissue depots; Obesity-related co-morbidities; mRNA expression.