Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) can be collected easily and repeatedly. Their potential use to reflect the individual's biological status is increasingly explored. Obesity is becoming the most common health problem of the 21st century, being dietary intake an important determinant of this pathology and numerous chronic health conditions.
The aim of this study is to identify PBMC genes involved in energy homeostasis, which could be good markers of overweight development.
Using whole-genome microarray analysis, we evaluated the gene expression in PBMC of normoweight and diet-induced obese (cafeteria-fed) Wistar rats.
Microarray analysis showed 566 genes differentially expressed between normoweight and cafeteria-fed rats. Of these, 35 genes were particularly involved in energy homeostasis. The gene with the biggest fold change was the ‘solute carrier family 27 (fatty acid transporter), member 2’ (slc27a2), which is implicated in lipid biosynthesis and fatty acid degradation. Scl27a2 was 33-fold overexpressed in cafeteria-fed rats compared with normoweight rats. This result was confirmed by quantitative PCR, although the overexpression was smaller (sixfold). Moreover, the increase in slc27a2 expression in PBMC of cafeteria-fed rats from 2 to 6 months of age paralleled the increase in body weight.
The progressive overexpression of slc27a2 in PBMC of cafeteria-fed rats as the body weight increases suggests this gene as an early marker of overweight development related to the intake of a hyperlipidic diet.
- messenger-rna expression
- acyl-coa synthetase