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Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2010;94:291-347. doi: 10.1016/S1877-1173(10)94011-8.

Epigenetics and obesity.

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Department of Food Sciences, Physiology and Toxicology, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.


The etiology of obesity is multifactorial, involving complex interactions among the genetic makeup, neuroendocrine status, fetal programming, and different unhealthy environmental factors, such as sedentarism or inadequate dietary habits. Among the different mechanisms causing obesity, epigenetics, defined as the study of heritable changes in gene expression that occur without a change in the DNA sequence, has emerged as a very important determinant. Experimental evidence concerning dietary factors influencing obesity development through epigenetic mechanisms has been described. Thus, identification of those individuals who present with changes in DNA methylation profiles, certain histone modifications, or other epigenetically related processes could help to predict their susceptibility to gain or lose weight. Indeed, research concerning epigenetic mechanisms affecting weight homeostasis may play a role in the prevention of excessive fat deposition, the prediction of the most appropriate weight reduction plan, and the implementation of newer therapeutic approaches.

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