NGS Reveals Molecular Pathways Affected by Obesity and Weight Loss-Related Changes in miRNA Levels in Adipose Tissue

Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Dec 27;19(1):66. doi: 10.3390/ijms19010066.


Both obesity and weight loss may cause molecular changes in adipose tissue. This study aimed to characterize changes in adipose tissue miRNome in order to identify molecular pathways affected by obesity and weight changes. Next generation sequencing (NGS) was applied to identify microRNAs (miRNAs) differentially expressed in 47 samples of visceral (VAT) and subcutaneous (SAT) adipose tissues from normal-weight (N), obese (O) and obese after surgery-induced weight loss (PO) individuals. Subsequently miRNA expression was validated by real-time PCR in 197 adipose tissues and bioinformatics analysis performed to identify molecular pathways affected by obesity-related changes in miRNA expression. NGS identified 344 miRNAs expressed in adipose tissues with ≥5 reads per million. Using >2 and <-2 fold change as cut-offs we showed that the expression of 54 miRNAs differed significantly between VAT-O and SAT-O. Equally, between SAT-O and SAT-N, the expression of 20 miRNAs differed significantly, between SAT-PO and SAT-N the expression of 79 miRNAs differed significantly, and between SAT-PO and SAT-O, the expression of 61 miRNAs differed significantly. Ontological analyses disclosed several molecular pathways regulated by these miRNAs in adipose tissue. NGS-based miRNome analysis characterized changes of the miRNA profile of adipose tissue, which are associated with changes of weight possibly responsible for a differential regulation of molecular pathways in adipose tissue when the individual is obese and after the individual has lost weight.

Keywords: adipose tissue; miRNome; molecular pathways; next generation sequencing; obesity.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcriptome*
  • Weight Loss


  • MicroRNAs