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Integrated genetic and epigenetic analyses uncovered GLP1R association with metabolically healthy obesity.

BACKGROUND: Both genetic and epigenetic variations of GLP1R influence the development and progression of obesity. However, the underlying mechanism remains elusive. This study aims to explore the mediation roles of obesity-related methylation sites in GLP1R gene variants-obesity association.

METHODS: A total of 300 Chinese adult participants were included in this study and classified into two groups: 180 metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) cases and 120 metabolically healthy normal-weight (MHNW) controls. Questionnaire investigation, physical measurement and laboratory examination were assessed in all participants. 18 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 31 CpG sites were selected for genotype and methylation assays. Causal inference test (CIT) was performed to evaluate the associations between GLP1R genetic variation, DNA methylation and MHO.

RESULTS: The study found that rs4714211 polymorphism of GLP1R gene was significantly associated with MHO. Additionally, methylation sites in the intronic region of GLP1R (GLP1R-68-CpG 7.8.9; GLP1R-68-CpG 12.13; GLP1R-68-CpG 17; GLP1R-68-CpG 21) were associated with MHO, and two of these methylation sites (GLP1R-68-CpG 7.8.9; GLP1R-68-CpG 17) partially mediated the association between genotypes and MHO.

CONCLUSIONS: Not only the gene polymorphism, but also the DNA methylation of GLP1R was associated with MHO. Epigenetic changes in the methylome may in part explain the relationship between genetic variants and MHO.

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