Genetic and epigenetic regulation of regional adiposity
Upper and lower body adipose tissue fat mass show opposite associations with complications of obesity such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Each tissue is composed of specialized adipocytes serving different functions. The upper body adipose tissue has a high lipid turnover and is archetypically responding to fight and flight behaviour whereas the lower body fat tissue is the prime tissue for long-term fat storage. Although a large number of gene variants have been associated with fat distribution, they only explain a very small fraction of the phenotypic variability between people. Epigenetic regulation of human adipose tissue fat distribution is not widely explored as a between-people explanation for fat distribution. The HOTAIR gene which shows both genetic and epigenetic regulation of lower body adipose tissue fat mass will be discussed.
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