Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 FAs) have several beneficial effects on cardiovascular (CV) disease risk factors. These effects on CV risk profile may be mediated by several factors, including epigenetic modifications. Our objective is to investigate, using genome-wide DNA methylation analyses, methylation changes following an n-3 FA supplementation in overweight and obese subjects and to identify specific biological pathways potentially altered by the supplementation.
Blood leukocytes genome-wide DNA methylation profiles of 36 overweight and obese subjects before and after a 6-week supplementation with 3 g of n-3 FAs were compared using GenomeStudio software. After supplementation, 308 CpG sites, assigned to 231 genes, were differentially methylated (FDR-corrected Diffscore ≥│13│~ P ≤ 0.05). Using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis system, a total of 55 pathways were significantly overrepresented following supplementation. Among these pathways, 16 were related to inflammatory and immune response, lipid metabolism, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular signaling. Changes in methylation levels of CpG sites within AKT3, ATF1, HDAC4, and IGFBP5 were correlated with changes in plasma triglyceride and glucose levels as well as with changes in the ratio of total cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol following the supplementation.
These data provide key differences in blood leukocytes DNA methylation profiles of subjects following an n-3 FA supplementation, which brings new, potential insights on metabolic pathways underlying the effects of n-3 FAs on CV health.

PMID: 28450971

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