Genetics, epigenetics and environment may together affect the susceptibility for type 2 diabetes (T2D). Our aim was to dissect molecular mechanisms underlying T2D using genome-wide expression and DNA methylation data in adipose tissue from monozygotic twin pairs discordant for T2D and independent case-control cohorts. In adipose tissue from discordant twins, we found decreased expression of genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation, carbohydrate-, amino acid- and lipid metabolism, and increased expression of genes involved in inflammation and glycan degradation. The most differentially expressed genes included ELOVL6, GYS2, FADS1, SPP1 (OPN), CCL18 and IL1RN. We replicated these results in adipose tissue from an independent case-control cohort. Several candidate genes for obesity and T2D (e.g. IRS1 and VEGFA) were differentially expressed in discordant twins. We found a heritable contribution to the genome-wide DNA methylation variability in twins. Differences in methylation between monozygotic twin pairs discordant for T2D were subsequently modest. However, 15,627 sites, representing 7,046 genes including PPARG, KCNQ1, TCF7L2 and IRS1 showed differential DNA methylation in adipose tissue from unrelated subjects with T2D compared with controls. 1,410 of these sites did also show differential DNA methylation in the twins discordant for T2D. For the differentially methylated sites, the heritability estimate was 0.28. We also identified CNVs in monozygotic twin pairs discordant for T2D. Taken together, subjects with T2D exhibit multiple transcriptional and epigenetic changes in adipose tissue relevant to the development of the disease.
- Received September 20, 2013.
- Accepted April 14, 2014.
- © 2014 by the American Diabetes Association.
Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ for details.