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Karl Bacos

Karl Bacos

Assistant researcher

Karl Bacos

Epigenetics of type 2 diabetes mellitus and weight change — a tool for precision medicine?


  • Charlotte Ling
  • Karl Bacos
  • Tina Rönn

Summary, in English

Pioneering studies performed over the past few decades demonstrate links between epigenetics and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), the metabolic disorder with the most rapidly increasing prevalence in the world. Importantly, these studies identified epigenetic modifications, including altered DNA methylation, in pancreatic islets, adipose tissue, skeletal muscle and the liver from individuals with T2DM. As non-genetic factors that affect the risk of T2DM, such as obesity, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, ageing and the intrauterine environment, have been associated with epigenetic modifications in healthy individuals, epigenetics probably also contributes to T2DM development. In addition, genetic factors associated with T2DM and obesity affect the epigenome in human tissues. Notably, causal mediation analyses found DNA methylation to be a potential mediator of genetic associations with metabolic traits and disease. In the past few years, translational studies have identified blood-based epigenetic markers that might be further developed and used for precision medicine to help patients with T2DM receive optimal therapy and to identify patients at risk of complications. This Review focuses on epigenetic mechanisms in the development of T2DM and the regulation of body weight in humans, with a special focus on precision medicine.


  • EpiHealth: Epidemiology for Health
  • Diabetes - Epigenetics
  • EXODIAB: Excellence of Diabetes Research in Sweden

Publishing year





Nature Reviews Endocrinology

Document type

Journal article review


Nature Publishing Group


  • Medical Genetics
  • Endocrinology and Diabetes



Research group

  • Diabetes - Epigenetics


  • ISSN: 1759-5029