An Integrated Analysis of miRNA and Gene Expression Changes in Response to an Obesogenic Diet to Explore the Impact of Transgenerational Supplementation with Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Nutrients. 2020 Dec 17;12(12):3864. doi: 10.3390/nu12123864.


Insulin resistance decreases the ability of insulin to inhibit hepatic gluconeogenesis, a key step in the development of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic alterations, fat accumulation, and fibrosis in the liver are closely related and contribute to the progression of comorbidities, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, or cancer. Omega 3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), were identified as potent positive regulators of insulin sensitivity in vitro and in animal models. In the current study, we explored the effects of a transgenerational supplementation with EPA in mice exposed to an obesogenic diet on the regulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) and gene expression in the liver using high-throughput techniques. We implemented a comprehensive molecular systems biology approach, combining statistical tools, such as MicroRNA Master Regulator Analysis pipeline and Boolean modeling to integrate these biochemical processes. We demonstrated that EPA mediated molecular adaptations, leading to the inhibition of miR-34a-5p, a negative regulator of Irs2 as a master regulatory event leading to the inhibition of gluconeogenesis by insulin during the fasting-feeding transition. Omics data integration provided greater biological insight and a better understanding of the relationships between biological variables. Such an approach may be useful for deriving innovative data-driven hypotheses and for the discovery of molecular-biochemical mechanistic links.

Keywords: liver; metabolic syndrome; microRNA; obesity; omega 3 fatty acids; transcriptome.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Diet, High-Fat / methods
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / blood*
  • Gene Expression / drug effects*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • MicroRNAs / blood*
  • MicroRNAs / drug effects*


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • MicroRNAs

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