Association of the CpG Methylation Pattern of the Proximal Insulin Gene Promoter with Type 1 Diabetes
by Delphine Fradin, Sophie Le Fur, Clémence Mille, Nadia Naoui, Chris Groves, Diana Zelenika, Mark I. McCarthy, Mark Lathrop, Pierre Bougnères
The insulin (INS) region is the second most important locus associated with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). The study of the DNA methylation pattern of the 7 CpGs proximal to the TSS in the INS gene promoter revealed that T1D patients have a lower level of methylation of CpG -19, -135 and -234 (p = 2.10−16) and a higher methylation of CpG -180 than controls, while methylation was comparable for CpG -69, -102, -206. The magnitude of the hypomethylation relative to a control population was 8–15% of the corresponding levels in controls and was correlated in CpGs -19 and -135 (r = 0.77) and CpG -135 and -234 (r = 0.65). 70/485 (14%) of T1D patients had a simultaneous decrease in methylation of CpG -19, -135, -234 versus none in 317 controls. CpG methylation did not correlate with glycated hemoglobin or with T1D duration. The methylation of CpG -69, -102, -180, -206, but not CpG -19, -135, -234 was strongly influenced by the cis-genotype at rs689, a SNP known to show a strong association with T1D. We hypothesize that part of this genetic association could in fact be mediated at the statistical and functional level by the underlying changes in neighboring CpG methylation. Our observation of a CpG-specific, locus-specific methylation pattern, although it can provide an epigenetic biomarker of a multifactorial disease, does not indicate whether the reported epigenetic pattern preexists or follows the establishment of T1D. To explore the effect of chronic hyperglycemia on CpG methylation, we studied non obese patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) who were found to have decreased CpG-19 methylation versus age-matched controls, similar to T1D (p = 2.10−6) but increased CpG-234 methylation (p = 5.10−8), the opposite of T1D. The causality and natural history of the different epigenetic changes associated with T1D or T2D remain to be determined.
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