Epigenetic reprogramming in metabolic disorders: nutritional factors and beyond

Zhiyong Cheng, Louise Zheng, Fabio A. Almeida

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Environmental factors (e.g., malnutrition and physical inactivity) contribute largely to metabolic disorders including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiometabolic disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver diseases. The abnormalities in metabolic activity and pathways have been increasingly associated with altered DNA methylation, histone modification and noncoding RNAs, whereas lifestyle interventions targeting diet and physical activity can reverse the epigenetic and metabolic changes. Here we review recent evidence primarily from human studies that links DNA methylation reprogramming to metabolic derangements or improvements, with a focus on cross-tissue (e.g., the liver, skeletal muscle, pancreas, adipose tissue and blood samples) epigenetic markers, mechanistic mediators of the epigenetic reprogramming, and the potential of using epigenetic traits to predict disease risk and intervention response. The challenges in epigenetic studies addressing the mechanisms of metabolic diseases and future directions are also discussed and prospected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetic marker
  • Intervention
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Reprogramming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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