Transcriptome profiling from adipose tissue during a low-calorie diet reveals predictors of weight and glycemic outcomes in obese, nondiabetic subjects

Claudia Armenise, Gregory Lefebvre, Jerome Carayol, Sophie Bonnel, Jennifer Bolton, Alessandro Di Cara, Nele Gheldof, Patrick Descombes, Dominique Langin, Wim H. M. Saris, Arne Astrup, Jorg Hager, Nathalie Viguerie, Armand Valsesia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: A low-calorie diet (LCD) reduces fat mass excess, improves insulin sensitivity, and alters adipose tissue (AT) gene expression, yet the relation with clinical outcomes remains unclear.

Objective: We evaluated AT transcriptome alterations during an LCD and the association with weight and glycemic outcomes both at LCD termination and 6 mo after the LCD.

Design: Using RNA sequencing (RNAseq), we analyzed transcriptome changes in AT from 191 obese, nondiabetic patients within a multicenter, controlled dietary intervention. Expression changes were associated with outcomes after an 8-wk LCD (800-1000 kcal/d) and 6 mo after the LCD. Results were validated by using quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction in 350 subjects from the same cohort. Statistical models were constructed to classify weight maintainers or glycemic improvers.

Results: With RNAseq analyses, we identified 1173 genes that were differentially expressed after the LCD, of which 350 and 33 were associated with changes in body mass index (BMI; in kg/m(2)) and Matsuda index values, respectively, whereas 29 genes were associated with both endpoints. Pathway analyses highlighted enrichment in lipid and glucose metabolism. Classification models were constructed to identify weight maintainers. A model based on clinical baseline variables could not achieve any classification (validation AUC: 0.50; 95% CI: 0.36, 0.64). However, clinical changes during the LCD yielded better performance of the model (AUC: 0.73; 95% CI: 0.60, 0.87]). Adding baseline expression to this model improved the performance significantly (AUC: 0.87; 95% CI: 0.77, 0.96; Delong's P = 0.012). Similar analyses were performed to classify subjects with good glycemic improvements. Baseline-and LCD-based clinical models yielded similar performance (best AUC: 0.73; 95% CI: 0.60, 0.86). The addition of expression changes during the LCD improved the performance substantially (AUC: 0.80; 95% CI: 0.69, 0.92; P = 0.058).

Conclusions: This study investigated AT transcriptome alterations after an LCD in a large cohort of obese, nondiabetic patients. Gene expression combined with clinical variables enabled us to distinguish weight and glycemic responders from nonresponders. These potential biomarkers may help clinicians understand intersubject variability and better predict the success of dietary interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)736-746
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017


  • obesity
  • insulin resistance
  • low-calorie diet
  • transcriptome analysis
  • adipose tissue

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