Navigation Links
Environment and diet leave their prints on the heart
Date:11/28/2011

A University of Cambridge study, which set out to investigate DNA methylation in the human heart and the 'missing link' between our lifestyle and our health, has now mapped the link in detail across the entire human genome.

The new data collected greatly benefits a field that is still in its scientific infancy and is a significant leap ahead of where the researchers were, even 18 months ago.

Researcher Roger Foo explains: "By going wider and scanning the genome in greater detail this time - we now have a clear picture of the 'fingerprint' of the missing link, where and how epigenetics in heart failure may be changed and the parts of the genome where diet or environment or other external factors may affect outcomes."

The study originally began investigating the differences in DNA methylation found in the human heart. Researchers compared data from a small number of people with end-stage cardiomyopathy who were undergoing heart transplantation, and the healthy hearts of age-matched victims of road traffic accidents.

DNA methylation leaves indicators, or "marks", on the genome and there is evidence that these "marks" are strongly influenced by external factors such as the environment and diet. The researchers have found that this process is different in diseased and normal hearts. Linking all these things together suggest this may be the "missing link" between environmental factors and heart failure.

The findings deepen our understanding of the genetic changes that can lead to heart disease and how these can be influenced by our diet and our environment. The findings can potentially open new ways of identifying, managing and treating heart disease.

The DNA that makes up our genes is made up of four "bases" or nucleotides cytosine, guanine, adenine and thymie, often abbreviated to C, G, A and T. DNA methylation is the addition of a methyl group (CH3) to cytosine.

When added to cytosine, the methyl group looks different and is recognised differently by proteins, altering how the gene is expressed i.e. turned on or off.

DNA methylation is a crucial part of normal development, allowing different cells to become different tissues despite having the same genes. As well as happening during development, DNA methylation continues throughout our lives in a response to environmental and dietary changes which can lead to disease.

As a result of the study, Foo likens DNA methylation to a fifth nucleotide: "We often think of DNA as being composed of four nucleotides. Now, we are beginning to think there is a fifth the methylated C."

Foo also alludes to what the future holds for the study: "...and more recent basic studies now show us that our genome has even got 6th, 7th and 8th nucleotides... in the form of further modifications of cytosines. These are hydroxy-methyl-Cytosine, formylCytosine and carboxylCytosine = hmC, fC and caC! These make up an amazing shift in the paradigm"

As in most studies, as one question is resolved, another series of mysteries form in its place. The study shows that we are still on the frontier of Epigenetics and only just beginning to understand the link between the life we lead and the body we have.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dave Fyvie
davefyvie@gmail.com
44-122-333-2300
University of Cambridge
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Lack of large-scale experiments slows progress of environmental restoration
2. NIHs Genes, Environment and Health Initiative adds 6 studies
3. MU scientists go green with gold, distribute environmentally friendly nanoparticles
4. Growing a garden of future environmental leaders
5. Alternative to burning: environmentally sound disposal for wood chips
6. Childrens gardening programs grow environmental stewards
7. New center will focus environmental debate and produce solutions for action
8. 6 environmental research studies reveal critical health risks from plastic
9. Experts agree: Environmental standards needed for biofuels
10. Experts agree: to protect the environment, biofuel standards are needed
11. Hypertension disparity linked to environment
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/2/2016)... 2016 The report "Biometric Vehicle ... Technology (Iris Recognition System), Vehicle Type (Passenger Car, ... to 2021", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is ... and is projected to grow to USD 854.8 ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160303/792302) ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... , Nov. 30, 2016  higi SH ... new partnership initiative targeting national brands, industry thought-leaders ... reward their respective audiences for taking steps to ... its inception in 2012, higi has built the ... impacting over 38 million people who have conducted ...
(Date:11/29/2016)... CANNES, France , November 29, 2016 Nearly ... Continue Reading ... ... System is part of an efficient Identity Management. (PRNewsFoto/DERMALOG Identification Systems) ... DERMALOG is Germany's largest Multi-Biometric ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/7/2016)... Francisco, CA (PRWEB) , ... ... ... leader uBiome is opening applications to an early access program for SmartBiome ... of metagenomic deep-sequencing with the simultaneous specific enrichment and detection of hundreds ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... - SQI Diagnostics Inc. ("SQI" or the "Company") (TSX-V: SQD; OTCQX: SQIDF), today ... fiscal year ended September 30, 2016. ... , , SQI ... company that develops and commercializes proprietary technologies and products for advanced ... revenues of $1.4 million more than tripling prior years revenue. ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... ... Discovering new clues to natural treatments that could allow our bodies to ... And searching for keys to our immune systems by studying parasite-resistant fish. These are ... Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards by The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... ... Point Partners ("GPP") portfolio company, today announced it has acquired the assets ... subsidiary of Chiltern International and focuses on clinical trial drug packaging, labeling, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: