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Research Article Open Access
Epigenetic mechanisms are known to be involved in tissue-specific differentiation. DNA methylation patterns have been shown to be largely conserved across tissues but with variation for specific genes. However, it is unclear whether the variability observed in the methylation profile of a metabolically active tissue is reflected in other sources such as hematopoietic tissue. This study aimed to test blood genome-wide CpG site methylation levels as a surrogate model for visceral adipose tissue (VAT) methylation and to verify whether it appropriately reflects differences in methylation levels found in VAT between men discordant for the metabolic syndrome (MetS). Tissue specimens (VAT and blood samples) were obtained from 16 severely obese individuals discordant for the MetS. CpG sites methylation levels were measured with the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip and correlations of methylation levels between VAT and blood were computed. Differences in methylation levels between individuals with and without MetS were tested in both tissues. Pathway analysis was conducted for differentially methylated CpG sites common to both tissues. High cross-tissue correlations were observed for VAT and blood (0.952±0.014) while some CpG sites had significantly different methylation levels in VAT versus blood. Differential methylation analysis between individuals with and without MetS demonstrated a higher number of differentially methylated CpG sites in VAT than in blood (11,778 vs. 881, respectively) with nearly 4% of differentially methylated sites found in VAT being also represented in blood. Common differentially methylated sites were involved in inflammatory-, lipid- and diabetes-related pathways. These results suggest that blood methylation levels of specific CpG sites may adequately reflect VAT methylation levels for some of the MetS-related genes, specifically for inflammatory, lipid and glucose metabolism genes.
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Author(s): Frédéric Guénard, Yves Deshaies, Frédéric-Simon Hould, Stéfane Lebel, André Tchernof, Picard Marceau and Marie-Claude Vohl
Methylation, Visceral adipose tissue, Blood, Metabolic syndrome, Epigenetics, Obesity, Biomarker, Visceral adipose tissue, Blood, Metabolic syndrome