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Rev Med Inst Mex Seguro Soc. 2014;52 Suppl 1:S88-93.

[Epigenetics of childhood obesity and diabetes].

[Article in Spanish; Abstract available in Spanish from the publisher]

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Unidad de Investigación Médica en Bioquímica, Centro Médico Nacional Siglo XXI, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Distrito Federal, México.


in English, Spanish

Obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) result from sedentary lifestyle, high-carbohydrate diets and genetic predisposition. Epigenetics is a form of genetic regulation in specialized cells that does not involve changes in the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequence, but it can be inherited to one or more generations through mitosis or meiosis. Children whose mothers develop gestational diabetes are more likely to become obese and diabetic in adult life. DNA methylation is a major mechanism in the regulation of transcription and gene expression of several genes. High levels of glucose and insulin during pregnancy modify the risk of developing T2DM, suggesting that the expression pattern is modified due to cell memory in a specific tissue. If T2DM is linked to adaptation in utero, the obvious primary prevention is to protect the fetal development. Future epidemiological studies need to employ more accurate indicators or markers of development to show the relationship between a specific disease and the exposure to environmental factors. The mechanisms by which malnutrition, and intrauterine growth retardation produce changes in the metabolism of glucose and insuline are worth to explore in order to control obesity and T2DM.


Epigenetics; Pediatric obesity; Type 2 diabetes mellitus

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