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J Hum Genet. 2016 Mar;61(3):241-6. doi: 10.1038/jhg.2015.140. Epub 2015 Dec 3.

An epigenomic signature of postprandial hyperglycemia in peripheral blood leukocytes.

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Division of Brain Diseases, Center for Biomedical Sciences, Osong, Korea.
National Biobank of Korea, Center for Genome Science, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Osong, Korea.


Postprandial hyperglycemia is known to be one of the earliest signs of abnormal glucose homeostasis associated with type 2 diabetes. This study aimed to assess clinical significance of a 1-h postprandial glucose level for the development of diabetes, and identify epigenetic biomarkers of postprandial hyperglycemia. We analyzed clinical data from the oral glucose tolerance tests for healthy subjects (n=4502). The ratio (Glu60/Glu0) of 1-h glucose levels to fasting glucose levels was significantly associated with an insulin sensitive index (QUICKI, quantitative insulin sensitivity check index) (β=0.055, P=1.25E-04) as well as a risk of future pre-diabetic and diabetic conversion. Next, DNA methylation profile analyses of 24 matched pairs of the high and low Glu60/Glu0 ratio subjects showed that specific DNA methylation levels in the promoter region of an olfactory receptor gene (olfactory receptor gene family10 member A4, OR10A4) were associated with the Glu60/Glu0 ratios (β=0.337, P=0.03). Moreover, acute oral glucose challenges decreased the DNA methylation levels of OR10A4 but not the global DNA methylation in peripheral leukocytes of healthy subjects (n=7), indicating that OR10A4 is a specific epigenomic target of postprandial hyperglycemia. This work suggests possible relevance of olfactory receptor genes to an earlier molecular biomarker of peripheral hyperglycemia and diabetic conversion.

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