Articles that explore the connection between epigenetics and diseases and disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and more.

Epigenetic Switch Helps the Body Fight Infections

January 31, 2023 Natalie Crowley

Keeping the body healthy – that’s the immune system’s job. And a healthy immune system allows our body to defend against invading disease-causing microorganisms like viruses, parasites, and bacteria. One remarkable component of the immune system response is hematopoiesis, the process by which immune cells are produced in the bone marrow. During an infection, the hematopoietic system kicks into high gear, replenishing the immune cells that are quickly being consumed. Like a “state of emergency” for the body, this system [more…]

Histone mimicry: How a SARS-CoV-2 protein functions as an H3 mimic to disrupt host cell epigenetic regulation

January 3, 2023 Mike Spelios

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first recognized at the beginning of 2020 and is responsible for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  The persistence of the virus has been partly accredited to its effective suppression of host cell responses.  As such, continued research in elucidating the dynamics of the SARS-CoV-2 life cycle is essential to facilitate the design and development of novel diagnostics and suitable therapies.  Although reports suggest that SARS-CoV-2 can dysregulate the host’s gene expression and innate [more…]

Researchers Discover New Epigenetic Biomarkers for Prostate Cancer

October 25, 2022 Natalie Crowley

Cancer that occurs in the prostate is one of the most common cancers found in men globally. It is also clinically one of the most varied, with a subgroup of patients that advance more quickly to metastasis. Unfortunately, many diagnostic measures used today are not capable of predicting prostate cancer’s (PC) progression. Because epigenetic modifications are usually found early in tumor development, researchers have become more interested in studying these changes to find biomarkers for the disease. In a recent [more…]

Researchers Discover Disease Causes Abnormal Chromatin Packaging in Cells

August 30, 2022 Natalie Crowley

DNA exists within every cell in the body, but it’s packaged differently in each cell type or tissue. The bundled-up DNA is called chromatin, and its configuration helps regulate gene expression. It does this by allowing transcription to take place along specific DNA regions as needed during its lifecycle. Thus, cells must be able to control chromatin’s structure and remodeling capabilities to function correctly. However, disruptions in a cell’s microenvironment, as in disease, can upset the mechanisms that control chromatin. [more…]

Evaluating the Epigenetic Age of Sperm to Predict Pregnancy Outcomes

August 16, 2022 Natalie Crowley

Women’s health behaviors and age have historically been seen as the determining factors to a successful pregnancy. Of course, that view has been changing over the years as more research examines the male partner’s role in fertility. One factor considered significant to males’ reproductive capability is their age. Generally, that means taking into account their chronological age. But chronological age doesn’t accurately depict the “true age” of a person…or, in the case of fertility, the biological age of a male’s [more…]

Severe COVID-19 Reaction in Children Carries a Distinctive Epigenetic Signature

August 2, 2022 Natalie Crowley

At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, hospitals in hot zones like New York City were bursting with incoming patients. Remarkably, very few of them were under 18. The reason is still a mystery, but somehow most children and teens appear to be protected from getting the worst of COVID-19.  This assumption was tested in April 2020, when doctors from the UK and US documented a presentation in children of a severe shock-like illness similar to Kawasaki disease or toxic [more…]

The Epigenetics of Antifungal Resistance

July 19, 2022 Adam Alonzi

Decades of antibiotic and antifungal use have dramatically impacted the global microbiome, with ramifications for agriculture and human health. Worries are mounting but no systematic plans of action are forthcoming. Though that is not to say there are no slivers of hope. While they are still largely confined to immunocompromised patients, fungal infections are a looming public health crisis. Invasive candidiasis is increasingly caused by multidrug-resistant non-albicans yeasts and nearly 60% of C. parapsilosi sampled in South Africa are now [more…]

Epigenetic Study Reveals Novel Subgroups for Type 2 Diabetes

July 5, 2022 Natalie Crowley

Today over 400 million people around the globe are living with diabetes, the more significant majority of which have type 2. In all cases, the disease disrupts the body’s use of glucose, making it difficult for cells to take in needed sugar from the blood. Over time, high blood sugar levels can lead to problems with the kidneys, nerves, eyes, and feet, as well as comorbidities like heart disease and stroke. Diabetes is a chronic condition, meaning that people who [more…]

Alleviating Epigenetically-Regulated Chronic Pain

June 21, 2022 Natalie Crowley

Pain is a natural symptom of damage to the body, either done by disease or injury. Usually, it subsides upon healing. But when pain persists beyond healing, or occurs for no apparent reason for a prolonged period of time, it is more than just a symptom. It is a chronic condition in its own right that needs attention. However, chronic pain is difficult to treat, even diagnose properly, because it is poorly understood in many cases. Plus, conventional therapies are [more…]

Epigenetically Reversing Mental Health Disorders that Arise from Adolescent Binge Drinking

June 7, 2022 Natalie Crowley

Imagine being able to undo some of the bad mistakes we made in our youth, like drinking too much. It’s been well reported that excessive alcohol consumption in adolescents can lead to serious health problems later on in life. Anxiety and continued alcohol dependence are two issues that often result from underage alcohol exposure, and both are difficult to treat. Now scientists in the field of epigenetics are finding that it may be possible to reverse some of the damage [more…]

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