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Epigenetic markers to further understand insulin resistance

  • Charlotte Ling
  • Tina Rönn
Publishing year: 2016-11-01
Language: English
Pages: 2295-2297
Publication/Series: Diabetologia
Volume: 59
Issue: 11
Document type: Journal article (comment)
Publisher: Springer Verlag

Abstract english

Epigenetic variation in human adipose tissue has been linked to type 2 diabetes and its related risk factors including age and obesity. Insulin resistance, a key risk factor for type 2 diabetes, may also be associated with altered DNA methylation in visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue. Furthermore, linking epigenetic variation in target tissues to similar changes in blood cells may identify new blood-based biomarkers. In this issue of Diabetologia, Arner et al studied the transcriptome and methylome in subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue of 80 obese women who were either insulin-sensitive or -resistant (DOI 10.1007/s00125-016-4074-5). While they found differences in gene expression between the two groups, no alterations in DNA methylation were found after correction for multiple testing. Nevertheless, based on nominal p values, their methylation data overlapped with methylation differences identified in adipose tissue of individuals with type 2 diabetes compared with healthy individuals. Differential methylation of these overlapping CpG sites may predispose to diabetes by occurring already in the insulin-resistant state. Furthermore, some methylation changes may contribute to an inflammatory process in adipose tissue since the identified CpG sites were annotated to genes encoding proteins involved in inflammation. Finally, the methylation pattern in circulating leucocytes did not mirror the adipose tissue methylome of these 80 women. Together, identifying novel molecular mechanisms contributing to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes may help advance the search for new therapeutic alternatives.


  • Endocrinology and Diabetes
  • Adipose tissue
  • Biomarker
  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetics
  • EWAS
  • Insulin resistance
  • Subcutaneous
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Visceral


  • Epigenetics and Diabetes
  • ISSN: 0012-186X
Tina Rönn
E-mail: tina [dot] ronn [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Assistant researcher

Epigenetics and Diabetes

+46 40 39 12 18

CRC 91-12-021


Lund University Diabetes Centre, CRC, SUS Malmö, Entrance 72, House 91:12. SE-205 02 Malmö. Telephone: +46 40 39 10 00