Mitochondrial Epigenetic Changes Link to Increased Diabetes Risk and Early-Stage Prediabetes Indicator

Louise D. Zheng, Leah E. Linarelli, Joseph Brooke, Cayleen Smith, Sarah S. Wall, Mark H. Greenawald, Richard W. Seidel, Paul A. Estabrooks, Fabio A. Almeida, Zhiyong Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is characterized by mitochondrial derangement and oxidative stress. With no known cure for T2D, it is critical to identify mitochondrial biomarkers for early diagnosis of prediabetes and disease prevention. Here we examined 87 participants on the diagnosis power of fasting glucose (FG) and hemoglobin A1c levels and investigated their interactions with mitochondrial DNA methylation. FG and A1c led to discordant diagnostic results irrespective of increased body mass index (BMI), underscoring the need of new biomarkers for prediabetes diagnosis. Mitochondrial DNA methylation levels were not correlated with late-stage (impaired FG or A1c) but significantly with early-stage (impaired insulin sensitivity) events. Quartiles of BMI suggested that mitochondrial DNA methylation increased drastically from Q1 (20 < BMI < 24.9, lean) to Q2 (30 < BMI < 34.9, obese), but marginally from Q2 to Q3 (35 < BMI < 39.9, severely obese) and from Q3 to Q4 (BMI > 40, morbidly obese). A significant change was also observed from Q1 to Q2 in HOMA insulin sensitivity but not in A1c or FG. Thus, mitochondrial epigenetic changes link to increased diabetes risk and the indicator of early-stage prediabetes. Further larger-scale studies to examine the potential of mitochondrial epigenetic marker in prediabetes diagnosis will be of critical importance for T2D prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5290638
JournalOxidative medicine and cellular longevity
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Aging
  • Cell Biology


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