Transcriptomic and microRNA analyses of gene networks regulated by eicosapentaenoic acid in brown adipose tissue of diet-induced obese mice

Mandana Pahlavani, Nadeeja N. Wijayatunga, Nishan S. Kalupahana, Latha Ramalingam, Preethi H. Gunaratne, Cristian Coarfa, Kimal Rajapakshe, Pratibha Kottapalli, Naima Moustaid-Moussa

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Brown adipose tissue (BAT) dissipates chemical energy as heat via thermogenesis and protects against obesity by increasing energy expenditure. However, regulation of BAT by dietary factors remains largely unexplored at the mechanistic level. We investigated the effect of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) on BAT metabolism. Male C57BL/6J (B6) mice were fed either a high-fat diet (HF, 45% kcal fat) or HF diet supplemented with EPA (HF-EPA, 6.75% kcal EPA) for 11 weeks. RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) and microRNA (miRNA) profiling were performed on RNA from BAT using Illumina HiSeq and Illumina Genome Analyzer NextSeq, respectively. We conducted pathway analyses using ingenuity pathway analysis software (IPA®) and validated some genes and miRNAs using qPCR. We identified 479 genes that were differentially expressed (2-fold change, n = 3, P ≤ 0.05) in BAT from HF compared to HF-EPA. Genes negatively correlated with thermogenesis such as hypoxia inducible factor 1 alpha subunit inhibitor (Hif1an), were downregulated by EPA. Pathways related to thermogenesis such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) were upregulated by EPA while pathways associated with obesity and inflammation such as nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) were downregulated by EPA. MiRNA profiling identified nine and six miRNAs that were upregulated and downregulated by EPA, respectively (log2 fold change > 1.25, n = 3, P ≤ 0.05). Key regulatory miRNAs which were involved in thermogenesis, such as miR-455-3p and miR-129-5p were validated using qPCR. In conclusion, the depth of transcriptomic and miRNA profiling revealed novel mRNA-miRNA interaction networks in BAT which are involved in thermogenesis, and regulated by EPA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1523-1531
Number of pages9
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Brown adipose tissue
  • MicroRNA
  • Obesity
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • RNA sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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