Int J Biol Sci 2012; 8(6):831-837. doi:10.7150/ijbs.4493 This issue

Short Research Communication

Co-methylated Genes in Different Adipose Depots of Pig are Associated with Metabolic, Inflammatory and Immune Processes

Mingzhou Li1,2*, Honglong Wu3*, Tao Wang1, Yudong Xia3, Long Jin1, Anan Jiang1, Li Zhu1, Lei Chen4, Ruiqiang Li2✉, Xuewei Li1✉

1. Institute of Animal Genetics and Breeding, College of Animal Science and Technology, Sichuan Agricultural University, Ya'an, Sichuan, China;
2. Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences, Biodynamic Optical Imaging Center, and College of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China;
3. BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China;
4. Chongqing Academy of Animal Science, Chongqing, China.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.

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Li M, Wu H, Wang T, Xia Y, Jin L, Jiang A, Zhu L, Chen L, Li R, Li X. Co-methylated Genes in Different Adipose Depots of Pig are Associated with Metabolic, Inflammatory and Immune Processes. Int J Biol Sci 2012; 8(6):831-837. doi:10.7150/ijbs.4493. Available from

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It is well established that the metabolic risk factors of obesity and its comorbidities are more attributed to adipose tissue distribution rather than total adipose mass. Since emerging evidence suggests that epigenetic regulation plays an important role in the aetiology of obesity, we conducted a genome-wide methylation analysis on eight different adipose depots of three pig breeds living within comparable environments but displaying distinct fat level using methylated DNA immunoprecipitation sequencing. We aimed to investigate the systematic association between anatomical location-specific DNA methylation status of different adipose depots and obesity-related phenotypes. We show here that compared to subcutaneous adipose tissues which primarily modulate metabolic indicators, visceral adipose tissues and intermuscular adipose tissue, which are the metabolic risk factors of obesity, are primarily associated with impaired inflammatory and immune responses. This study presents epigenetic evidence for functionally relevant methylation differences between different adipose depots.

Keywords: pig, subcutaneous adipose tissue, visceral adipose tissue, DNA methylation, MeDIP-seq