DNA methylation profiling of CD04+/CD08+ T cells reveals pathogenic mechanisms in increasing hyperglycemia: PIRAMIDE pilot study

Giuditta Benincasa, Monica Franzese, Concetta Schiano, Raffaele Marfella, Marco Miceli, Teresa Infante, Celestino Sardu, Mario Zanfardino, Ornella Affinito, Gelsomina Mansueto, Linda Sommese, Giovanni Francesco Nicoletti, Marco Salvatore, Giuseppe Paolisso, Claudio Napoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: DNA methylation can play a pathogenic role in the early stages of hyperglycemia linking homeostasis imbalance and vascular damage. Material and methods: We investigated DNA methylome by RRBS in CD04+ and CD08+ T cells from healthy subjects (HS) to pre-diabetics (Pre-Diab) and type 2 diabetic (T2D) patients to identify early biomarkers of glucose impairment and vascular damage. Our cross-sectional study enrolled 14 individuals from HS state to increasing hyperglycemia (pilot study, PIRAMIDE trial, NCT03792607). Results: Globally, differentially methylated regions (DMRs) were mostly annotated to promoter regions. Hypermethylated DMRs were greater than hypomethylated in CD04+ T cells whereas CD08+ T showed an opposite trend. Moreover, DMRs overlapping between Pre-Diab and T2D patients were mostly hypermethylated in both T cells. Interestingly, SPARC was the most hypomethylated gene in Pre-Diab and its methylation level gradually decreased in T2D patients. Besides, SPARC showed a significant positive correlation with DBP (+0.76), HDL (+0.54), Creatinine (+0.83), LVDd (+0.98), LVSD (+0.98), LAD (+0.98), LVPWd (+0.84), AODd (+0.81), HR (+0.72), Triglycerides (+0.83), LAD (+0.69) and AODd (+0.52) whereas a negative correlation with Cholesterol (−0.52) and LDL (−0.71) in T2D. Conclusion: SPARC hypomethylation in CD08+ T cells may be a useful biomarker of vascular complications in Pre-Diab with a possible role for primary prevention warranting further multicenter clinical trials to validate our findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-226
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Medicine and Surgery
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Cardiovascular complications
  • DNA methylation
  • Prediabetes
  • T cells
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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