Epigenetic Signature of Impaired Fasting Glucose in the Old Order Amish

Introduction: Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is a common chronic disease with substantial disease burden and economic impact. Lifestyle changes can significantly alter the course of the disease, if detected at an early stage. DNA methylation signature may serve as a biomarker for early detection of increased T2D risk.

Design: DNA methylation profiling was performed using the Illumina Infinium Human Methylation 450K Bead chip array in 24 normoglycemic Old Order Amish (OOA) individuals who later developed Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG) (cases), and 24 OOA individuals who remained normoglycemic after an average follow up of 10 years (controls). Cases and controls were matched on age, sex, BMI, baseline fasting glucose, and glucose level after 2 h from 75 g Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT).

Results: Association analysis found no significant difference in either global methylation or individual probe methylation between cases and controls, however, the top 34 suggestive significant sites were located in genes with interesting biological links to T2D and glycemic traits. These genes include BTC that plays a role in pancreatic cell proliferation and insulin secretion, ITGA1 a known bone mineral density gene that was recently found to be associated also with T2D and glycemic traits, and may explain the link between T2D and BMD, and RPTOR and TSC2 both of which are part of insulin signaling pathway.

Conclusions: These results may shed light on the initiation and development of hyperglycemia and T2D and help to identify high risk individuals for early intervention; however, further studies are required for validation.


May E Montasser, Yu-Ching Cheng, Keith Tanner, Alan R Shuldiner and Jeffrey R O’Connell

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