Common variants in WNT pathway genes have been associated with bone mass and fat distribution, the latter predicting diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk. Rare mutations in the WNT co-receptors LRP5 and LRP6 are similarly associated with bone and cardiometabolic disorders. We investigated the role of LRP5 in human adipose tissue. Subjects with gain-of-function LRP5 mutations and high bone mass had enhanced lower-body fat accumulation. Reciprocally, a low bone mineral density-associated common LRP5 allele correlated with increased abdominal adiposity. Ex vivo LRP5 expression was higher in abdominal versus gluteal adipocyte progenitors. Equivalent knockdown of LRP5 in both progenitor types dose-dependently impaired β-catenin signaling and led to distinct biological outcomes: diminished gluteal and enhanced abdominal adipogenesis. These data highlight how depot differences in WNT/β-catenin pathway activity modulate human fat distribution via effects on adipocyte progenitor biology. They also identify LRP5 as a potential pharmacologic target for the treatment of cardiometabolic disorders.
•Carriers of LRP5 variants display altered body fat distribution•LRP5 is more highly expressed in abdominal versus gluteal fat progenitor cells•LRP5 knockdown in both progenitor types leads to different biological responses•LRP5 modulates fat progenitor biology by controlling β-catenin signaling dosage
Loh et al. identify the WNT co-receptor LRP5 as a regulator of human body fat distribution, an independent predictor of diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk. Studying LRP5 gene variant carriers and human fat progenitors, they show that LRP5 differentially modulates regional adipose progenitor biology by titrating WNT/β-catenin signaling dosage.
Genome wide association studies (GWAS) for fasting glucose (FG) and insulin (FI) have identified common variant signals which explain 4.8% and 1.2% of trait variance, respectively. It is hypothesized that low-frequency and rare variants could contribute substantially to unexplained genetic variance. To test this, we analyzed exome-array data from up to 33,231 non-diabetic individuals of European ancestry. We found exome-wide significant (P<5×10-7) evidence for two loci not previously highlighted by common variant GWAS: GLP1R (p.Ala316Thr, minor allele frequency (MAF)=1.5%) influencing FG levels, and URB2 (p.Glu594Val, MAF = 0.1%) influencing FI levels. Coding variant associations can highlight potential effector genes at (non-coding) GWAS signals. At the G6PC2/ABCB11 locus, we identified multiple coding variants in G6PC2 (p.Val219Leu, p.His177Tyr, and p.Tyr207Ser) influencing FG levels, conditionally independent of each other and the non-coding GWAS signal. In vitro assays demonstrate that these associated coding alleles result in reduced protein abundance via proteasomal degradation, establishing G6PC2 as an effector gene at this locus. Reconciliation of single-variant associations and functional effects was only possible when haplotype phase was considered. In contrast to earlier reports suggesting that, paradoxically, glucose-raising alleles at this locus are protective against type 2 diabetes (T2D), the p.Val219Leu G6PC2 variant displayed a modest but directionally consistent association with T2D risk. Coding variant associations for glycemic traits in GWAS signals highlight PCSK1, RREB1, and ZHX3 as likely effector transcripts. These coding variant association signals do not have a major impact on the trait variance explained, but they do provide valuable biological insights.
Understanding how FI and FG levels are regulated is important because their derangement is a feature of T2D. Despite recent success from GWAS in identifying regions of the genome influencing glycemic traits, collectively these loci explain only a small proportion of trait variance. Unlocking the biological mechanisms driving these associations has been challenging because the vast majority of variants map to non-coding sequence, and the genes through which they exert their impact are largely unknown. In the current study, we sought to increase our understanding of the physiological pathways influencing both traits using exome-array genotyping in up to 33,231 non-diabetic individuals to identify coding variants and consequently genes associated with either FG or FI levels. We identified novel association signals for both traits including the receptor for GLP-1 agonists which are a widely used therapy for T2D. Furthermore, we identified coding variants at several GWAS loci which point to the genes underlying these association signals. Importantly, we found that multiple coding variants in G6PC2 result in a loss of protein function and lower fasting glucose levels.
Epidemiologic and genetic evidence links type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cancer. The tumor-suppressor phosphatase and tensin homologue (PTEN) has roles in both cellular growth and metabolic signaling. Germline PTEN mutations cause a cancer-predisposition syndrome, providing an opportunity to study the effect of PTEN haploinsufficiency in humans.
We measured insulin sensitivity and beta-cell function in 15 PTEN mutation carriers and 15 matched controls. Insulin signaling was measured in muscle and adipose-tissue biopsy specimens from 5 mutation carriers and 5 well-matched controls. We also assessed the effect of PTEN haploinsufficiency on obesity by comparing anthropometric indexes between the 15 patients and 2097 controls from a population-based study of healthy adults. Body composition was evaluated by means of dual-emission x-ray absorptiometry and skinfold thickness.
Measures of insulin resistance were lower in the patients with a PTEN mutation than in controls (e.g., mean fasting plasma insulin level, 29 pmol per liter [range, 9 to 99] vs. 74 pmol per liter [range, 22 to 185]; P = 0.001). This finding was confirmed with the use of hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamping, showing a glucose infusion rate among carriers 2 times that among controls (P = 0.009). The patients’ insulin sensitivity could be explained by the presence of enhanced insulin signaling through the PI3K-AKT pathway, as evidenced by increased AKT phosphorylation. The PTEN mutation carriers were obese as compared with population-based controls (mean body-mass index [the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters], 32 [range, 23 to 42] vs. 26 [range, 15 to 48]; P<0.001). This increased body mass in the patients was due to augmented adiposity without corresponding changes in fat distribution.
PTEN haploinsufficiency is a monogenic cause of profound constitutive insulin sensitization that is apparently obesogenic. We demonstrate an apparently divergent effect of PTEN mutations: increased risks of obesity and cancer but a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes owing to enhanced insulin sensitivity. (Funded by the Wellcome Trust and others.)
Adipose tissue (AT) hypoxia has been proposed as the cause of obesity-related AT dysfunction, moving the tissue toward a proinflammatory phenotype. In humans, AT oxygenation has been assessed by expression of hypoxia-sensitive genes or direct assessment of O2 tension; the obvious read out of hypoxia, effects on intermediary metabolism, has not been investigated. We used tissue-specific venous catheterization of subcutaneous abdominal AT in humans to investigate oxygen-related metabolic processes, searching for metabolic signatures relating to hypoxia in obesity. O2 delivery to AT was reduced in obesity (P < 0.05). However, O2 consumption was low (<30% of resting forearm skeletal muscle [SM], P < 0.001); this was not related to obesity. AT primarily oxidized glucose, as demonstrated by a respiratory quotient close to 1.0 (higher than SM, P < 0.05). AT was a net producer of lactate, but there was an inverse relationship in venous outflow between lactate-to-pyruvate ratio (a marker of cytosolic redox state) and BMI, suggesting that AT is glycolytic but obese AT is not hypoxic. Although delivery of O2 to the obese AT is reduced, O2 consumption is low, and metabolic signatures of human AT do not support the notion of a hypoxic state in obesity.
Approaches exploiting extremes of the trait distribution may reveal novel loci for common traits, but it is unknown whether such loci are generalizable to the general population. In a genome-wide search for loci associated with upper vs. lower 5th percentiles of body mass index, height and waist-hip ratio, as well as clinical classes of obesity including up to 263,407 European individuals, we identified four new loci (IGFBP4, H6PD, RSRC1, PPP2R2A) influencing height detected in the tails and seven new loci (HNF4G, RPTOR, GNAT2, MRPS33P4, ADCY9, HS6ST3, ZZZ3) for clinical classes of obesity. Further, we show that there is large overlap in terms of genetic structure and distribution of variants between traits based on extremes and the general population and little etiologic heterogeneity between obesity subgroups.
The menopause is accompanied by increased risk of obesity, altered body fat distribution
and decreased skeletal muscle mass. The resulting decrease in RMR should be accompanied by
a compensatory change in energy balance to avoid weight gain. We aimed to investigate
habitual energy intake and expenditure in pre- and postmenopausal women matched for
abdominal obesity. We recruited fifty-one healthy Caucasian women, BMI > 18·5
and <35 kg/m2, aged 35–45 years (premenopausal, n 26)
and 55–65 years (postmenopausal, n 25). Energy intake was measured using
3 d diet diaries and dietary fat quality assessed using adipose tissue fatty acid
biomarkers. RMR was measured using indirect calorimetry, and total energy expenditure
(TEE) and activity energy expenditure using a combined accelerometer and heart rate
monitor. Postmenopausal women had lower RMR and TEE and spent significantly less time
undertaking moderate exercise than premenopausal women. Postmenopausal women had a
tendency for a lower energy intake, and a similar macronutrient intake but a significantly
lower adipose tissue n-6:n-3 ratio (24·6 (se
1·6) v. 37·7 (se 3·1); P < 0·001). The
main lifestyle determinant of bone mineral density (which was significantly lower in
postmenopausal women) was TEE for premenopausal women, and dietary
n-6:n-3 ratio for postmenopausal women. The present
results suggest that weight maintenance is achieved in the post- compared with
premenopausal status through a combination of reduced energy intake and reduced TEE in a
regimen that compromises micronutrient intake and has a negative impact on lean tissue
mass. However, lower n-6:n-3 fatty acid intake in
postmenopausal women is associated with greater bone mineral density.
Diet; Body composition; Bone health; Fatty acids; AEE, activity energy expenditure; AT, adipose tissue; BMD, bone mineral density; FSH, follicle-stimulating hormone; MET, metabolic equivalent; TEE, total energy expenditure
Motivation: In sequencing studies of common diseases and quantitative traits, power to test rare and low frequency variants individually is weak. To improve power, a common approach is to combine statistical evidence from several genetic variants in a region. Major challenges are how to do the combining and which statistical framework to use.
General approaches for testing association between rare variants and quantitative traits include aggregating genotypes and trait values, referred to as ‘collapsing’, or using a score-based variance component test. However, little attention has been paid to alternative models tailored for protein truncating variants. Recent studies have highlighted the important role that protein truncating variants, commonly referred to as ‘loss of function’ variants, may have on disease susceptibility and quantitative levels of biomarkers. We propose a Bayesian modelling framework for the analysis of protein truncating variants and quantitative traits.
Results: Our simulation results show that our models have an advantage over the commonly used methods. We apply our models to sequence and exome-array data and discover strong evidence of association between low plasma triglyceride levels and protein truncating variants at APOC3 (Apolipoprotein C3).
Availability: Software is available from http://www.well.ox.ac.uk/~rivas/mamba
To determine the frequency and spectrum of mutations causing Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH) in patients attending a single UK specialist hospital lipid clinic in Oxford and to identify characteristics contributing to a high mutation detection rate.
289 patients (272 probands) were screened sequentially over a 2-year period for mutations in LDLR, APOB and PCSK9 using standard molecular genetic techniques. The Simon Broome (SB) clinical diagnostic criteria were used to classify patients and a separate cohort of 409 FH patients was used for replication.
An FH-causing mutation was found in 101 unrelated patients (LDLR = 54 different mutations, APOB p.(Arg3527Gln) = 10, PCSK9 p.(Asp374Tyr) = 0). In the 60 SB Definite FH patients the mutation detection rate was 73% while in the 142 with Possible FH the rate was significantly lower (27%, p < 0.0001), but similar (14%, p = 0.06) to the 70 in whom there was insufficient data to make a clinical diagnosis. The mutation detection rate varied significantly (p = 9.83 × 10−5) by untreated total cholesterol (TC) levels (25% in those <8.1 mmol/l and 74% in those >10.0 mmol/l), and by triglyceride levels (20% in those >2.16 mmol/l and 60% in those <1.0 mmol/l (p = 0.0005)), with both effects confirmed in the replication sample (p for trend = 0.0001 and p = 1.8 × 10−6 respectively). There was no difference in the specificity or sensitivity of the SB criteria versus the Dutch Lipid Clinic Network score in identifying mutation carriers (AROC respectively 0.73 and 0.72, p = 0.68).
In this genetically heterogeneous cohort of FH patients the mutation detection rate was significantly dependent on pre-treatment TC and triglyceride levels.
•54 different LDLR mutations found in a cohort of 272 FH probands.•The cohort was found to be genetically heterogeneous with no specific FH mutation.•Mutation detection rate was highly dependent on pre-treatment TC and TG levels.•No difference in specificity/sensitivity between 2 clinical FH diagnosis approaches.•Inadequate LDL-C reduction marks the need for more effective lipid-lowering therapy.
Cholesterol; Diagnostics; Familial hypercholesterolaemia; Genetic; Lipids; Mutations; FH, familial hypercholesterolaemia; ARMS, amplification refractory mutation system; HRM, high resolution melting; MLPA, multiplex ligation probe-dependent amplification; TC, total cholesterol; TG, triglycerides; CHD, coronary heart disease; DLCN, Dutch Lipid Clinic Network; NGS, next generation sequencing; NICE, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence; DFH, definite FH; PFH, possible FH; UH, unclassified hypercholesterolaemia
Given the anthropometric differences between men and women and previous evidence of sex-difference in genetic effects, we conducted a genome-wide search for sexually dimorphic associations with height, weight, body mass index, waist circumference, hip circumference, and waist-to-hip-ratio (133,723 individuals) and took forward 348 SNPs into follow-up (additional 137,052 individuals) in a total of 94 studies. Seven loci displayed significant sex-difference (FDR<5%), including four previously established (near GRB14/COBLL1, LYPLAL1/SLC30A10, VEGFA, ADAMTS9) and three novel anthropometric trait loci (near MAP3K1, HSD17B4, PPARG), all of which were genome-wide significant in women (P<5×10−8), but not in men. Sex-differences were apparent only for waist phenotypes, not for height, weight, BMI, or hip circumference. Moreover, we found no evidence for genetic effects with opposite directions in men versus women. The PPARG locus is of specific interest due to its role in diabetes genetics and therapy. Our results demonstrate the value of sex-specific GWAS to unravel the sexually dimorphic genetic underpinning of complex traits.
Men and women differ substantially regarding height, weight, and body fat. Interestingly, previous work detecting genetic effects for waist-to-hip ratio, to assess body fat distribution, has found that many of these showed sex-differences. However, systematic searches for sex-differences in genetic effects have not yet been conducted. Therefore, we undertook a genome-wide search for sexually dimorphic genetic effects for anthropometric traits including 133,723 individuals in a large meta-analysis and followed promising variants in further 137,052 individuals, including a total of 94 studies. We identified seven loci with significant sex-difference including four previously established (near GRB14/COBLL1, LYPLAL1/SLC30A10, VEGFA, ADAMTS9) and three novel anthropometric trait loci (near MAP3K1, HSD17B4, PPARG), all of which were significant in women, but not in men. Of interest is that sex-difference was only observed for waist phenotypes, but not for height or body-mass-index. We found no evidence for sex-differences with opposite effect direction for men and women. The PPARG locus is of specific interest due to its link to diabetes genetics and therapy. Our findings demonstrate the importance of investigating sex differences, which may lead to a better understanding of disease mechanisms with a potential relevance to treatment options.
The expansion of lower-body adipose tissue (AT) is paradoxically associated with reduced cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk. We examined whether the beneficial metabolic properties of lower-body AT are related to the production and release of the insulin-sensitizing lipokine palmitoleate (16:1n-7). Using venoarterial difference sampling, we investigated the relative release of 16:1n-7 from lower-body (gluteofemoral) and upper-body (abdominal subcutaneous) AT depots. Paired gluteofemoral and abdominal subcutaneous AT samples were analyzed for triglyceride fatty acid composition and mRNA expression. Finally, the triglyceride fatty acid composition of isolated human preadipocytes was determined. Relative release of 16:1n-7 was markedly higher from gluteofemoral AT compared with abdominal subcutaneous AT. Stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1), the key enzyme involved in endogenous 16:1n-7 production, was more highly expressed in gluteofemoral AT and was associated with greater enrichment of 16:1n-7. Furthermore, isolated human preadipocytes from gluteofemoral AT displayed a higher content of SCD1-derived fatty acids. We demonstrate that human gluteofemoral AT plays a major role in determining systemic concentrations of the lipokine palmitoleate. Moreover, this appears to be an inherent feature of gluteofemoral AT. We propose that the beneficial metabolic properties of lower-body AT may be partly explained by the intrinsically greater production and release of palmitoleate.
11β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11βHSD1) is a therapeutic target in metabolic syndrome because it catalyses reductase regeneration of cortisol from cortisone in adipose and liver. 11βHSD1 can also catalyze the reverse dehydrogenase reaction in vitro (e.g., if cofactor is limited). We used stable isotope tracers to test the hypothesis that both 11βHSD1-reductase and -dehydrogenase activities occur in human metabolic tissues in vivo. 1,2-[2H]2-Cortisone (d2-cortisone) was validated as a tracer for 11β-dehydrogenase activity and its inhibition by licorice. d2-Cortisone and 9,11,12,12-[2H]4-cortisol (d4-cortisol) (to measure 11β-reductase activity) were coinfused and venous samples obtained from skeletal muscle, subcutaneous adipose (n = 6), and liver (n = 4). Steroids were measured by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry and arteriovenous differences adjusted for blood flow. Data are means ± SEM. 11β-Reductase and -dehydrogenase activities were detected in muscle (cortisol release 19.7 ± 4.1 pmol/100 mL/min, d3-cortisol 5.9 ± 1.8 pmol/100 mL/min, and cortisone 15.2 ± 5.8 pmol/100 mL/min) and splanchnic (cortisol 64.0 ± 11.4 nmol/min, d3-cortisol 12.9 ± 2.1 nmol/min, and cortisone 19.5 ± 2.8 nmol/min) circulations. In adipose, dehydrogenase was more readily detected than reductase (cortisone release 38.7 ± 5.8 pmol/100 g/min). Active recycling between cortisol and cortisone in metabolic tissues in vivo may facilitate dynamic control of intracellular cortisol but makes consequences of dysregulation of 11βHSD1 transcription in obesity and diabetes unpredictable. Disappointing efficacy of 11βHSD1 inhibitors in phase II studies could be explained by lack of selectivity for 11β-reductase.
Genetic variants that associate with DNA methylation at CpG sites (methylation quantitative trait loci, meQTLs) offer a potential biological mechanism of action for disease associated SNPs. We investigated whether meQTLs exist in abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) and if CpG methylation associates with metabolic syndrome (MetSyn) phenotypes. We profiled 27,718 genomic regions in abdominal SAT samples of 38 unrelated individuals using differential methylation hybridization (DMH) together with genotypes at 5,227,243 SNPs and expression of 17,209 mRNA transcripts. Validation and replication of significant meQTLs was pursued in an independent cohort of 181 female twins. We find that, at 5% false discovery rate, methylation levels of 149 DMH regions associate with at least one SNP in a ±500 kilobase cis-region in our primary study. We sought to validate 19 of these in the replication study and find that five of these significantly associate with the corresponding meQTL SNPs from the primary study. We find that none of the 149 meQTL top SNPs is a significant expression quantitative trait locus in our expression data, but we observed association between expression levels of two mRNA transcripts and cis-methylation status. Our results indicate that DNA CpG methylation in abdominal SAT is partly under genetic control. This study provides a starting point for future investigations of DNA methylation in adipose tissue.
Class I phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) isoforms generate the intracellular signalling lipid, phosphatidylinositol(3,4,5)trisphosphate (PtdIns(3,4,5)P3). PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 regulates major aspects of cellular behavior and the use of both genetic and pharmacological intervention has revealed important isoform-specific roles for PI3Ks in health and disease. Despite this interest, current methods for measuring PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 have major limitations, including insensitivity, reliance on radiolabeling, low throughput and an inability to resolve different fatty-acyl species. We introduce a methodology based upon phosphate methylation coupled to high performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS) to solve many of these problems and describe an integrated approach to quantify PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 and related phosphoinositides (regio-isomers of PtdInsP and PtdInsP2 are not resolved). This methodology can quantify multiple fatty-acyl species of PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 in un-stimulated murine and human cells (≥ 105) or tissues (≥ 0.1 mg) and their increase upon appropriate stimulation.
Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) is highly prevalent and has considerable public health impact, but its underlying genetic factors remain elusive. To identify gene networks involved in MetS, we conducted whole-genome expression and genotype profiling on abdominal (ABD) and gluteal (GLU) adipose tissue, and whole blood (WB), from 29 MetS cases and 44 controls. Co-expression network analysis for each tissue independently identified nine, six, and zero MetS–associated modules of coexpressed genes in ABD, GLU, and WB, respectively. Of 8,992 probesets expressed in ABD or GLU, 685 (7.6%) were expressed in ABD and 51 (0.6%) in GLU only. Differential eigengene network analysis of 8,256 shared probesets detected 22 shared modules with high preservation across adipose depots (DABD-GLU = 0.89), seven of which were associated with MetS (FDR P<0.01). The strongest associated module, significantly enriched for immune response–related processes, contained 94/620 (15%) genes with inter-depot differences. In an independent cohort of 145/141 twins with ABD and WB longitudinal expression data, median variability in ABD due to familiality was greater for MetS–associated versus un-associated modules (ABD: 0.48 versus 0.18, P = 0.08; GLU: 0.54 versus 0.20, P = 7.8×10−4). Cis-eQTL analysis of probesets associated with MetS (FDR P<0.01) and/or inter-depot differences (FDR P<0.01) provided evidence for 32 eQTLs. Corresponding eSNPs were tested for association with MetS–related phenotypes in two GWAS of >100,000 individuals; rs10282458, affecting expression of RARRES2 (encoding chemerin), was associated with body mass index (BMI) (P = 6.0×10−4); and rs2395185, affecting inter-depot differences of HLA-DRB1 expression, was associated with high-density lipoprotein (P = 8.7×10−4) and BMI–adjusted waist-to-hip ratio (P = 2.4×10−4). Since many genes and their interactions influence complex traits such as MetS, integrated analysis of genotypes and coexpression networks across multiple tissues relevant to clinical traits is an efficient strategy to identify novel associations.
Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) is a highly prevalent disorder with considerable public health concern, but its underlying genetic factors remain elusive. Given that most cellular components exert their functions through interactions with other cellular components, even the largest of genome-wide association (GWA) studies may often not detect their effects, nor necessarily provide insight into the complex molecular mechanisms of the disease. Rather than focusing on individual genes, the analysis of coexpression networks can be used for finding clusters (modules) of correlated expression levels across samples. In this study, we used a gene network–based approach for integrating clinical MetS, genotypic, and gene expression data from abdominal and gluteal adipose tissue and whole blood. We identified modules of genes related to MetS significantly enriched for immune response and oxidative phosphorylation pathways. We tested SNPs for association with MetS–associated expression (eSNPs), and tested prioritised eSNPs for association with MetS–related phenotypes in two large-scale GWA datasets. We identified two loci, neither of which had reached genome-wide significance levels in GWAs, associated with expression levels of RARRES2 and HLA-DRB1 and with MetS–related phenotypes, demonstrating that the integrated analysis of genotype and expression data from relevant multiple tissues can identify novel associations with complex traits such as MetS.
Lipotoxicity and ectopic fat deposition reduce insulin signaling. It is not clear whether excess fat deposition in nonadipose tissue arises from excessive fatty acid delivery from adipose tissue or from impaired adipose tissue storage of ingested fat.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
To investigate this we used a whole-body integrative physiological approach with multiple and simultaneous stable-isotope fatty acid tracers to assess delivery and transport of endogenous and exogenous fatty acid in adipose tissue over a diurnal cycle in lean (n = 9) and abdominally obese men (n = 10).
Abdominally obese men had substantially (2.5-fold) greater adipose tissue mass than lean control subjects, but the rates of delivery of nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) were downregulated, resulting in normal systemic NEFA concentrations over a 24-h period. However, adipose tissue fat storage after meals was substantially depressed in the obese men. This was especially so for chylomicron-derived fatty acids, representing the direct storage pathway for dietary fat. Adipose tissue from the obese men showed a transcriptional signature consistent with this impaired fat storage function.
Enlargement of adipose tissue mass leads to an appropriate downregulation of systemic NEFA delivery with maintained plasma NEFA concentrations. However the implicit reduction in adipose tissue fatty acid uptake goes beyond this and shows a maladaptive response with a severely impaired pathway for direct dietary fat storage. This adipose tissue response to obesity may provide the pathophysiological basis for ectopic fat deposition and lipotoxicity.
To understand how miRNAs contribute to the molecular phenotype of adipose tissues and related traits, we performed global miRNA expression profiling in subcutaneous abdominal and gluteal adipose tissue of 70 human subjects and characterised which miRNAs were differentially expressed between these tissues. We found that 12% of the miRNAs were significantly differentially expressed between abdominal and gluteal adipose tissue (FDR adjusted p<0.05) in the primary study, of which 59 replicated in a follow-up study of 40 additional subjects. Further, 14 miRNAs were found to be associated with metabolic syndrome case-control status in abdominal tissue and three of these replicated (primary study: FDR adjusted p<0.05, replication: p<0.05 and directionally consistent effect). Genome-wide genotyping was performed in the 70 subjects to enable miRNA expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) analysis. Candidate miRNA eQTLs were followed-up in the additional 40 subjects and six significant, independent cis-located miRNA eQTLs (primary study: p<0.001; replication: p<0.05 and directionally consistent effect) were identified. Finally, global mRNA expression profiling was performed in both tissues to enable association analysis between miRNA and target mRNA expression levels. We find 22% miRNAs in abdominal and 9% miRNAs in gluteal adipose tissue with expression levels significantly associated with the expression of corresponding target mRNAs (FDR adjusted p<0.05). Taken together, our results indicate a clear difference in the miRNA molecular phenotypic profile of abdominal and gluteal adipose tissue, that the expressions of some miRNAs are influenced by cis-located genetic variants and that miRNAs are associated with expression levels of their predicted mRNA targets.
Liver fat represents a balance between input, secretion, and oxidation of fatty acids. As humans spend the majority of a 24-h period in a postprandial state, dietary fatty acids make an important contribution to liver fat metabolism. We compared hepatic fatty acid partitioning in healthy lean (n = 9) and abdominally obese (n = 10) males over 24 h. Volunteers received three mixed meals adjusted for basal metabolic rate. U-13C-labeled fatty acids were incorporated into the meals, and [2H2]palmitate was infused intravenously to distinguish between sources of fatty acids incorporated into VLDL-TG. Immunoaffinity chromatography was used to isolate VLDL-TG of hepatic origin. Liver and whole body fatty acid oxidation was assessed by isotopic enrichment of 3-hydoxybutyrate and breath CO2. We found a similar contribution of dietary fatty acids to VLDL-TG in the two groups over 24 h. The contribution of fatty acids from splanchnic sources was higher (P < 0.05) in the abdominally obese group. Ketogenesis occurred to a significantly greater extent in abdominally obese compared with lean males, largely due to lessened downregulation of postprandial ketogenesis (P < 0.001). The appearance of 13C in breath CO2 was also greater (P < 0.001) in abdominally obese compared with lean men. Hepatic elongation and desaturation of palmitic acid were higher (P < 0.05) in abdominally obese than in lean males. Oxidation of dietary fatty acids and hepatic desaturation and elongation of palmitic acid occurred to a greater extent in abdominally obese men. These alterations may represent further pathways for redirection of fatty acids into export from the liver or oxidation to prevent liver fat accumulation.
very low-density lipoprotein; stable isotopes; postprandial metabolism; oxidation; abdominal obesity; desaturation
Gluteo-femoral, in contrast to abdominal, fat accumulation appears protective against diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Our objective was to test the hypothesis that this reflects differences in the ability of the two depots to sequester fatty acids, with gluteo-femoral fat acting as a longer-term “sink.”
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
A total of 12 healthy volunteers were studied after an overnight fast and after ingestion of a mixed meal. Blood samples were taken from veins draining subcutaneous femoral and abdominal fat and compared with arterialized blood samples. Stable isotope-labeled fatty acids were used to trace specific lipid fractions. In 36 subjects, adipose tissue blood flow in the two depots was monitored with 133Xe.
Blood flow increased in response to the meal in both depots, and these responses were correlated (rs = 0.44, P < 0.01). Nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA) release was suppressed after the meal in both depots; it was lower in femoral fat than in abdominal fat (P < 0.01). Plasma triacylglycerol (TG) extraction by femoral fat was also lower than that by abdominal fat (P = 0.05). Isotopic tracers showed that the difference was in chylomicron-TG extraction. VLDL-TG extraction and direct NEFA uptake were similar in the two depots.
Femoral fat shows lower metabolic fluxes than subcutaneous abdominal fat, but differs in its relative preference for extracting fatty acids directly from the plasma NEFA and VLDL-TG pools compared with chylomicron-TG.
Despite the clinical importance of an accurate diagnosis in individuals with monogenic forms of diabetes, restricted access to genetic testing leaves many patients with undiagnosed diabetes. Recently, common variation near the HNF1 homeobox A (HNF1A) gene was shown to influence C-reactive protein levels in healthy adults. We hypothesized that serum levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) could represent a clinically useful biomarker for the identification of HNF1A mutations causing maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY).
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Serum hs-CRP was measured in subjects with HNF1A-MODY (n = 31), autoimmune diabetes (n = 316), type 2 diabetes (n = 240), and glucokinase (GCK) MODY (n = 24) and in nondiabetic individuals (n = 198). The discriminative accuracy of hs-CRP was evaluated through receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis, and performance was compared with standard diagnostic criteria. Our primary analyses excluded ∼11% of subjects in whom the single available hs-CRP measurement was >10 mg/l.
Geometric mean (SD range) hs-CRP levels were significantly lower (P ≤ 0.009) for HNF1A-MODY individuals, 0.20 (0.03–1.14) mg/l, than for any other group: autoimmune diabetes 0.58 (0.10–2.75) mg/l, type 2 diabetes 1.33 (0.28–6.14) mg/l, GCK-MODY 1.01 (0.19–5.33) mg/l, and nondiabetic 0.48 (0.10–2.42) mg/l. The ROC-derived C-statistic for discriminating HNF1A-MODY and type 2 diabetes was 0.8. Measurement of hs-CRP, either alone or in combination with current diagnostic criteria, was superior to current diagnostic criteria alone. Sensitivity and specificity for the combined criteria approached 80%.
Serum hs-CRP levels are markedly lower in HNF1A-MODY than in other forms of diabetes. hs-CRP has potential as a widely available, cost-effective screening test to support more precise targeting of MODY diagnostic testing.
A feature of the Asian Indian phenotype is low birth weight with increased adult type 2 diabetes risk. Most populations show consistent associations between low birth weight and adult type 2 diabetes. Recently, two birth weight-lowering loci on chromosome 3 (near CCNL1 and ADCY5) were identified in a genome-wide association study, the latter of which is also a type 2 diabetes locus. We therefore tested the impact of these genetic variants on birth weight and adult glucose/insulin homeostasis in a large Indian birth cohort.
Adults (n = 2,151) enrolled in a birth cohort (established 1969-73) were genotyped for rs900400 (near CCNL1) and rs9883204 (ADCY5). Associations were tested for birth weight, anthropometry from infancy to adulthood, and type 2 diabetes related glycemic traits. The average birth weight in this population was 2.79±0.47 kg and was not associated with genetic variation in CCNL1 (p = 0.87) or ADCY5 (p = 0.54). Allele frequencies for the ‘birth weight-lowering’ variants were similar compared with Western populations. There were no significant associations with growth or adult weight. However, the ‘birth weight-lowering’ variant of ADCY5 was associated with modest increase in fasting glucose (β 0.041, p = 0.027), 2-hours glucose (β 0.127, p = 0.019), and reduced insulinogenic index (β -0.106, p = 0.050) and 2-hour insulin (β -0.058, p = 0.010).
The low birth weight in Asian Indians is not even partly explained by genetic variants near CCNL1 and ADCY5 which implies that non-genetic factors may predominate. However, the ‘birth-weight-lowering’ variant of ADCY5 was associated with elevated glucose and decreased insulin response in early adulthood which argues for a common genetic cause of low birth weight and risk of type 2 diabetes.
Waist-hip ratio (WHR) is a measure of body fat distribution and a predictor of metabolic consequences independent of overall adiposity. WHR is heritable, but few genetic variants influencing this trait have been identified. We conducted a meta-analysis of 32 genome-wide association studies for WHR adjusted for body-mass-index (up to 77,167 participants), following up 16 loci in an additional 29 studies (up to 113,636 subjects). We identified 13 novel loci in or near RSPO3, VEGFA, TBX15-WARS2, NFE2L3, GRB14, DNM3-PIGC, ITPR2-SSPN, LY86, HOXC13, ADAMTS9, ZNRF3-KREMEN1, NISCH-STAB1, and CPEB4 (P 1.9 × 10−9 to 1.8 × 10−40), and the known signal at LYPLAL1. Seven of these loci exhibited marked sexual dimorphism, all with a stronger effect on WHR in women than men (P for sex-difference 1.9 × 10−3 to 1.2 × 10−13). These findings provide evidence for multiple loci that modulate body fat distribution, independent of overall adiposity, and reveal powerful gene-by-sex interactions.
genome-wide association; waist-hip-ratio; body fat distribution; central obesity; meta-analysis; genetics; visceral adipose tissue; metabolism; body composition; Expression Quantitative Trait Loci; sex difference
Waist-hip ratio (WHR) is a measure of body fat distribution and a predictor of metabolic consequences independent of overall adiposity. WHR is heritable, but few genetic variants influencing this trait have been identified. We conducted a meta-analysis of 32 genome-wide association studies for WHR adjusted for body mass index (comprising up to 77,167 participants), following up 16 loci in an additional 29 studies (comprising up to 113,636 subjects). We identified 13 new loci in or near RSPO3, VEGFA, TBX15-WARS2, NFE2L3, GRB14, DNM3-PIGC, ITPR2-SSPN, LY86, HOXC13, ADAMTS9, ZNRF3-KREMEN1, NISCH-STAB1 and CPEB4 (P = 1.9 × 10−9 to P = 1.8 × 10−40) and the known signal at LYPLAL1. Seven of these loci exhibited marked sexual dimorphism, all with a stronger effect on WHR in women than men (P for sex difference = 1.9 × 10−3 to P = 1.2 × 10−13). These findings provide evidence for multiple loci that modulate body fat distribution independent of overall adiposity and reveal strong gene-by-sex interactions.
Obesity is globally prevalent and highly heritable, but the underlying
genetic factors remain largely elusive. To identify genetic loci for
obesity-susceptibility, we examined associations between body mass index (BMI)
and ~2.8 million SNPs in up to 123,865 individuals, with targeted follow-up of
42 SNPs in up to 125,931 additional individuals. We confirmed 14 known
obesity-susceptibility loci and identified 18 new loci associated with BMI
(P<5×10−8), one of which
includes a copy number variant near GPRC5B. Some loci
(MC4R, POMC, SH2B1, BDNF) map near key hypothalamic
regulators of energy balance, and one is near GIPR, an incretin
receptor. Furthermore, genes in other newly-associated loci may provide novel
insights into human body weight regulation.