An epigenetic modification increases the likelihood of obesity and precedes fatty liver disease. This was discovered by DZD scientists led by the German Institute of Human Nutrition (DIfE). They fed genetically identical mice a high-fat diet, whereupon a portion of the mice developed fatty livers. The researchers detected an epigenetic modification of the Igfbp2 gene, an increased methylation in specific sections of the DNA, already before the mice developed a fatty liver. The DZD scientists also found this change in blood cells of obese humans. It is possible that this modification already occurs during fetal development. An early detection of the modification could lead to the development of appropriate measures to lower the risk of obesity and fatty liver disease.
Kammel A, Saussenthaler S, Jähnert M, Jonas W, Stirm L, Hoeflich A, Staiger H, Fritsche A, Häring HU, Joost HG, Schürmann A, Schwenk RW. Early hypermethylation of hepatic Igfbp2 results in its reduced expression preceding fatty liver in mice. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddw121. Hum Mol Genet. April 28, 2016
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