Abnormal epigenetic changes during differentiation of human skeletal muscle stem cells from obese subjects

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BACKGROUND: Human skeletal muscle stem cells are important for muscle regeneration. However, the combined genome-wide DNA methylation and expression changes taking place during adult myogenesis have not been described in detail and novel myogenic factors may be discovered. Additionally, obesity is associated with low relative muscle mass and diminished metabolism. Epigenetic alterations taking place during myogenesis might contribute to these defects.

METHODS: We used Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip Kit (Illumina) and HumanHT-12 Expression BeadChip (Illumina) to analyze genome-wide DNA methylation and transcription before versus after differentiation of primary human myoblasts from 14 non-obese and 14 obese individuals. Functional follow-up experiments were performed using siRNA mediated gene silencing in primary human myoblasts and a transgenic mouse model.

RESULTS: We observed genome-wide changes in DNA methylation and expression patterns during differentiation of primary human muscle stem cells (myoblasts). We identified epigenetic and transcriptional changes of myogenic transcription factors (MYOD1, MYOG, MYF5, MYF6, PAX7, MEF2A, MEF2C, and MEF2D), cell cycle regulators, metabolic enzymes and genes previously not linked to myogenesis, including IL32, metallothioneins, and pregnancy-specific beta-1-glycoproteins. Functional studies demonstrated IL-32 as a novel target that regulates human myogenesis, insulin sensitivity and ATP levels in muscle cells. Furthermore, IL32 transgenic mice had reduced insulin response and muscle weight. Remarkably, approximately 3.7 times more methylation changes (147,161 versus 39,572) were observed during differentiation of myoblasts from obese versus non-obese subjects. In accordance, DNMT1 expression increased during myogenesis only in obese subjects. Interestingly, numerous genes implicated in metabolic diseases and epigenetic regulation showed differential methylation and expression during differentiation only in obese subjects.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study identifies IL-32 as a novel myogenic regulator, provides a comprehensive map of the dynamic epigenome during differentiation of human muscle stem cells and reveals abnormal epigenetic changes in obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number39
JournalBMC Medicine
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • DNA methylation, Myogenesis, Obesity, IL-32, Epigenetics, ARPP21, TGF- 3, PSG, CGB, MT, Insulin resistance

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