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The prevalence of obesity and type II diabetes is growing globally at rates indicating that environment rather than genes is the principal driver. Exposures to high-fat diet and toxicants, as well as micronutrient deficiency, can impact our health and that of future generations. Only now are we beginning to identify mechanisms linking these exposures to parental and offspring health. One connection between environment and health is the epigenome. The epigenome refers to the biochemical content associated with DNA that impacts gene expression and chromatin organization. Uncovering how genomic information is organized and regulated through epigenetic processes to control gene expression and cell functions in the next generation is still in a nascent stage. 

Anne-Sophie Pepin, Christine Lafleur, Romain Lambrot, Vanessa Dumeaux, Sarah Kimmins

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The minor allele of the CREBRF rs373863828 p.R457Q coding variant is associated with reduced levels of myostatin in males: Implications for body composition

Kate Lee, Sanaz Vakili, Hannah J. Burden, Shannon Adams, ... Peter R. Shepherd

Objective

The minor allele (A) of the rs373863828 variant (p.Arg457Gln) in CREBRF is restricted to indigenous peoples of the Pacific islands (including New Zealand Māori and peoples of Polynesia), with a frequency of up to 25% in these populations. This allele associates with a large increase in body mass index(BMI) but with significantly lower risk of type-2 diabetes (T2D). It remains unclear whether the increased BMI is driven by increased adiposity or by increased lean mass.

Methods

We undertook body composition analysis using DXA in 189 young men of Māori and Pacific descent living in Aotearoa New Zealand. Further investigation was carried out in two orthologous Arg458Gln knockin mouse models on FVB/NJ and C57BL/6j backgrounds.

Results

The rs373863828 A allele was associated with lower fat mass when adjusted for BMI (p < 0.05) and was associated with significantly lower circulating levels of the muscle inhibitory hormone myostatin (p < 0.05). Supporting the human data, significant reductions in adipose tissue mass were observed in the knockin mice. This was more significant in older mice in both backgrounds and appeared to be the result of reduced age-associated increases in fat mass. The older male knockin mice on C57BL/6j background also had increased grip strength (p < 0.01) and lower levels of myostatin (p < 0.05).

Conclusion

Overall, these results prove that the rs373863828 A-allele is associated with a reduction of myostatin levels which likely contribute to an age-dependent lowering of fat mass, at least in males.

The minor allele of the CREBRF rs373863828 p.R457Q coding variant is associated with reduced levels of myostatin in males: Implications for body composition

Kate Lee, Sanaz Vakili, Hannah J. Burden, Shannon Adams, ... Peter R. Shepherd

Objective

The minor allele (A) of the rs373863828 variant (p.Arg457Gln) in CREBRF is restricted to indigenous peoples of the Pacific islands (including New Zealand Māori and peoples of Polynesia), with a frequency of up to 25% in these populations. This allele associates with a large increase in body mass index(BMI) but with significantly lower risk of type-2 diabetes (T2D). It remains unclear whether the increased BMI is driven by increased adiposity or by increased lean mass.

Methods

We undertook body composition analysis using DXA in 189 young men of Māori and Pacific descent living in Aotearoa New Zealand. Further investigation was carried out in two orthologous Arg458Gln knockin mouse models on FVB/NJ and C57BL/6j backgrounds.

Results

The rs373863828 A allele was associated with lower fat mass when adjusted for BMI (p < 0.05) and was associated with significantly lower circulating levels of the muscle inhibitory hormone myostatin (p < 0.05). Supporting the human data, significant reductions in adipose tissue mass were observed in the knockin mice. This was more significant in older mice in both backgrounds and appeared to be the result of reduced age-associated increases in fat mass. The older male knockin mice on C57BL/6j background also had increased grip strength (p < 0.01) and lower levels of myostatin (p < 0.05).

Conclusion

Overall, these results prove that the rs373863828 A-allele is associated with a reduction of myostatin levels which likely contribute to an age-dependent lowering of fat mass, at least in males.

2021 impact factor: 7.422

The 60 Second Metabolist

In this section authors briefly report on their work recently published in Molecular Metabolism.

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