Epigenetics and obesity: the devil is in the details

Research output: Contribution to journalDebate/Note/Editorial

Abstract

Obesity is a complex disease with multiple well-defined risk factors. Nevertheless, susceptibility to obesity and its sequelae within obesogenic environments varies greatly from one person to the next, suggesting a role for gene x environment interactions in the etiology of the disorder. Epigenetic regulation of the human genome provides a putative mechanism by which specific environmental exposures convey risk for obesity and other human diseases and is one possible mechanism that underlies the gene x environment/treatment interactions observed in epidemiological studies and clinical trials. A study published in BMC Medicine this month by Wang et al. reports on an examination of DNA methylation in peripheral blood leukocytes of lean and obese adolescents, comparing methylation patterns between the two groups. The authors identified two genes that were differentially methylated, both of which have roles in immune function. Here we overview the findings from this study in the context of those emerging from other recent genetic and epigenetic studies, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the study and speculate on the future of epigenetics in chronic disease research. See research article: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/8/87/abstract

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Endocrinology and Diabetes
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Medicine
Volume8
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedNo

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