Energy balance is controlled by interconnected brain regions in the hypothalamus, brainstem, cortex, and limbic system. Gene expression signatures of these regions can help elucidate the pathophysiology underlying obesity. RNA sequencing was conducted on P56 C57BL/6NTac male mice and E14.5 C57BL/6NTac embryo punch biopsies in 16 obesity-relevant brain regions. The expression of 190 known obesity-associated genes (monogenic, rare, and low-frequency coding variants; GWAS; syndromic) was analyzed in each anatomical region. Genes associated with these genetic categories of obesity had localized expression patterns across brain regions. Known monogenic obesity causal genes were highly enriched in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus and developing hypothalamus. The obesity-associated genes clustered into distinct “modules” of similar expression profile, and these were distinct from expression modules formed by similar analysis with genes known to be associated with other disease phenotypes (type 1 and type 2 diabetes, autism, breast cancer) in the same energy balance–relevant brain regions.
Maria Caterina De Rosa, Hannah J. Glover, George Stratigopoulos, Charles A. LeDuc, Qi Su, Yufeng Shen, Mark W. Sleeman, Wendy K. Chung, Rudolph L. Leibel, Judith Y. Altarejos, Claudia A. Doege