Multiple Factors Affect Diabetic Muscle Gene Expression

Controlled by genetic, epigenetic and non-genetic factors

FRIDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- The expression of a gene that is reduced in the muscle of diabetic patients is affected by genetic, epigenetic and non-genetic factors, according to a report published online Oct. 18 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Charlotte Ling, Ph.D., from the Lund University in Malmo, Sweden, and colleagues examined genetic, epigenetic and non-genetic factors affecting the expression of the NDUFB6 gene in skeletal muscle in various cohorts of patients.

The researchers found that the expression of the gene in muscle was 60 percent inherited. Gene expression decreased with age, possibly due to a polymorphism in the promoter region that created a possible DNA methylation site. Another polymorphism at the same site was also associated with reduced expression in elderly, but not young, subjects due to increased DNA methylation in the promoter region. This methylation reduced muscle NDUFB6 expression, which was associated with insulin sensitivity.

"Our results demonstrate that genetic, epigenetic and non-genetic factors associate with NDUFB6 expression in human muscle and suggest that genetic and epigenetic factors may interact to increase age-dependent susceptibility to insulin resistance," Ling and colleagues conclude.

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