Methylation of imprinted IGF2 regions is associated with total, visceral, and hepatic adiposity in postmenopausal women.

Song MA, Ernst T, Tiirikainen M, Tost J, Wilkens LR, Chang L, Kolonel LN, Le Marchand L, Lim U
Epigenetics 13 858-865 01/01/2018


Excess body fat, especially intra-abdominal fat, is a leading risk factor for metabolic diseases. Differentially methylated regions (DMRs) of two imprinted genes, insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) and H19, have been associated with obesity due to their important roles in regulating body composition, but have not been examined in relation to intra-abdominal fat depots. Total body fat from whole-body dual energy X-ray absorptiometry and visceral and liver fat contents from abdominal magnetic resonance imaging in 48 healthy women aged 60-65 years (of White or Japanese ancestry) were each regressed on circulating leukocyte DNA methylation levels of IGF2 (at DMR0, DMR2a, and DMR2b) and H19 (at CTCF3) as assessed by pyrosequencing, while adjusting for age and race/ethnicity. Total fat mass was inversely associated with methylation levels of IGF2 DMR2b (P = 0.016). Total fat-adjusted visceral fat area (P = 0.062) and percent visceral fat measured at L4-L5 (P = 0.045) were associated with higher methylation levels of IGF2 DMR2b. Both total fat-adjusted percent liver fat (P = 0.039) and the presence of fatty liver (P = 0.015) were positively associated with IGF2 DMR2a methylation. Methylation levels of H19 CTCF3 were not associated with overall or intra/abdominal adiposity. The findings indicate that methylation levels of IGF2 DMR regions in leukocytes are associated with total body fat and with fat distribution in the viscera and liver independently of total adiposity.

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