Effects of X-chromosome Tenomodulin Genetic Variants on Obesity in a Children's Cohort and Implications of the Gene in Adipocyte Metabolism
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Tenomodulin (TNMD) is a type II transmembrane glycoprotein that has been recently linked to obesity, and it is highly expressed in obese adipose tissue. Several sex-dependent associations have been observed between single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the TNMD gene, which is located in the X-chromosome, and obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and metabolic syndrome in adults. On the other hand, results are lacking for children. We aimed (i) to study the association between TNMD genetic variants and metabolic complications related to childhood obesity and (ii) to investigate the function of TNMD in human adipocytes. We conducted a case-control, multicenter study in 915 Spanish children and demonstrated significant positive associations between TNMD genetic variants and BMI z-score, waist circumference, fasting glucose, and insulin resistance in boys, highlighting the SNP rs4828038. Additionally, we showed a BMI-adjusted inverse association with waist circumference in girls. Second, in vitro experiments revealed that TNMD is involved in adipogenesis, along with glucose and lipid metabolism in differentiated adipocytes, and these effects may be mediated through AMPK activation. Hence, these results suggest that TNMD genetic variants could be potentially useful as early life risk indicators for obesity and T2DM. In addition, we support the fact that TNMD exhibits significant metabolic functions in adipocytes.