To examine whether participants with different levels of diabetes-related DNA methylation at ABCG1 might respond differently to dietary weight loss interventions with long-term changes in adiposity and body fat distribution.


The current study included overweight/obese participants from the POUNDS Lost trial. Blood levels of regional DNA methylation at ABCG1 were profiled by high-resolution methylC-capture sequencing at baseline among 673 participants, of whom 598 were followed up at 6 months and 543 at 2 years. Two-year changes in adiposity and computed tomography–measured body fat distribution were calculated.


Regional DNA methylation at ABCG1 showed significantly different associations with long-term changes in body weight and waist circumference at 6 months and 2 years in dietary interventions varying in protein intake (interaction P < 0.05 for all). Among participants assigned to an average-protein (15%) diet, lower baseline regional DNA methylation at ABCG1 was associated with greater reductions in body weight and waist circumference at 6 months and 2 years, whereas opposite associations were found among those assigned to a high-protein (25%) diet. Similar interaction patterns were also observed for body fat distribution, including visceral adipose tissue, subcutaneous adipose tissue, deep subcutaneous adipose tissue, and total adipose tissue at 6 months and 2 years (interaction P < 0.05 for all).


Baseline DNA methylation at ABCG1 interacted with dietary protein intake on long-term decreases in adiposity and body fat distribution. Participants with lower methylation at ABCG1 benefitted more in long-term reductions in body weight, waist circumference, and body fat distribution when consuming an average-protein diet.

This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.24126612.

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