Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a major reproductive disorder that is responsible for 80% of anovulatory infertility and that is associated with hyperandrogenemia, increased risk of obesity, and white adipose tissue (WAT) dysfunction. We have previously demonstrated that the combination of chronic testosterone (T) treatment and an obesogenic Western-style diet (WSD) exerts synergistic functional effects on WAT, leading to increased lipid accumulation in visceral adipocytes by an unknown mechanism. In this study, we examined the whole-genome transcriptional response in visceral WAT to T and WSD, alone and in combination. We observed a synergistic effect of T and WSD on gene expression, resulting in upregulation of lipid storage genes concomitant with adipocyte hypertrophy. Because DNA methylation is known to be associated with body fat distribution and the etiology of PCOS, we conducted whole-genome DNA methylation analysis of visceral WAT. While only a fraction of differentially expressed genes also exhibited differential DNA methylation, in silico analysis showed that differentially methylated regions were enriched in transcription factor binding motifs, suggesting a potential gene regulatory role for these regions. In summary, this study demonstrates that hyperandrogenemia alone does not induce global transcriptional and epigenetic response in young female macaques unless combined with an obesogenic diet.
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