A DNA methylation site within theKLF13gene is associated with orexigenic processes based on neural responses and ghrelin levels

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We investigated five methylation markers recently linked to body mass index, for their role in the neuropathology of obesity. In neuroimaging experiments, our analysis involving 23 participants showed that methylation levels for the cg07814318 site, which lies within the KLF13 gene, correlated with brain activity in the claustrum, putamen, cingulate gyrus and frontal gyri, some of which have been previously associated to food signaling, obesity or reward. Methylation levels at cg07814318 also positively correlated with ghrelin levels. Moreover, expression of KLF13 was augmented in the brains of obese and starved mice. Our results suggest the cg07814318 site could be involved in orexigenic processes, and also implicate KLF13 in obesity. Our findings are the first to associate methylation levels in blood with brain activity in obesity-related regions, and further support previous findings between ghrelin, brain activity and genetic differences.

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