Epigenetic determinants of weight management: methylation signatures
Epigenetic signatures, which can sometimes be transgenerationally inherited, include DNA methylation, histone covalent modifications, or chromatin folding, as well as microRNAs and other mechanisms that can regulate gene expression without altering the underlying genomic sequence. Maternal malnutrition during perinatal periods has been involved, through fetal or developmental programming, in the susceptibility to excessive adiposity and other non-communicable chronic diseases. Epigenetic encrypts in the adipose tissue of obese subjects, which are affected by nutrition, sedentarism, and age among other factors, can be also reflected in the blood cells. Relationships between obesity and the epigenetic regulation of gene expression have been repeatedly reported, for example. It has been suggested that the obesity status may be mediated by epigenetic marks and that the response to a hypocaloric diet could be related to the methylation profiles of specific gene promoters. This review is focused on the importance of epigenetic regulation, with emphasis on DNA methylation, in the etiology and development of obesity, presenting some target epiobesogenic genes that might be used as biomarkers of weight loss success and weight regain and for preventive and personalized nutrition.