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

RNA Modification Detected in Swine Coronavirus

October 20, 2020 Natalie Crowley

Years before COVID-19 emerged out of China and entered the US, a lesser-known, highly contagious coronavirus (CoV) had already hit US soil, causing an outbreak of severe diarrhea in pigs. This swine CoV, referred to as porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), first appeared in the US in 2013. It caused high mortality and morbidity rates in the pork industry, spreading rapidly throughout the US then further into Canada and Mexico. Although PEDV is not known to be transferable to humans, [more…]

Pandemic-Related Lifestyle Changes Could Affect the Epigenetic Regulation of Your Skin

September 22, 2020 Clarissa Li

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the entire world, and many countries have been devastated by the fallout. As this virus swept the world, it has not only changed many aspects of the global economy but also has transformed the way we live our everyday lives. The skin is one of the major body parts that have been impacted by the coronavirus. It’s apparent that frequent usage of personal protective equipment and excessive personal hygiene could trigger different skin conditions. These skin conditions [more…]

Early Detection of DNA Methylation in Pancreas Could Help Identify Diabetes

September 15, 2020 Tim Barry

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is an extremely common chronic disease that affects the way the body uses insulin to regulate glucose levels. Specifically, the body either resists the effects of insulin, or it doesn’t produce enough of it to properly metabolize glucose. This could lead to nerve damage, heart and blood vessel complications, and other adverse health effects down the line. There are several factors that could lead to developing T2D, including obesity, lack of exercise, and poor diet. There [more…]

Histone Deacetylases Play a Role in Health & Renewal of Intestinal Barrier

September 1, 2020 Brandon Eudy

The barrier of the small intestine consists of a thin layer of cells which blocks pathogens from entering the body and has a major role in absorbing nutrients through microvilli. Maintenance of the intestinal barrier is important since these cells are constantly being sloughed off as food passes through and tiny amounts of damage can cause a leaky gut which is now understood to be associated with several chronic diseases (Fasano 2017 and Meddings 2006). The intestinal barrier is normally [more…]

Exposure to Parabens While Pregnant Could Lead to Obese Offspring

August 18, 2020 Andrea P

The paraben family of substances—including methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben—are preservatives frequently found in cosmetics. Approximately 90% of products found in grocery stores contain some amounts of parabens, making it difficult for even the most careful consumer to completely steer clear of them. Those concerned are less nervous about individual items’ paraben levels, with the acceptable range being set by the Food and Drug Administration, and more worried about the potential effects of cumulative exposure. That is, until we start discussing pregnant [more…]

Parenteral Nutrition May Alter Epigenetic Marks in Infant Guinea Pigs

August 4, 2020 Brandon Eudy

Parenteral nutrition (PN) is a means of administering intravenous nutrition to critically ill patients or individuals who cannot otherwise consume food through the normal oral route. Although PN is a critical part of patient care in many clinical situations, it must be carefully administered to avoid harmful side effects. Infants may be especially vulnerable to complications caused by receiving suboptimal PN due to having specific nutrient requirements for growth and development. One other concern with PN mixtures is that they [more…]

Bisphenol A Can Reprogram Liver’s Epigenome and Result in Disease in Rats

July 7, 2020 Sadman Sakib

There has been growing literature that suggests how environmental chemical exposure can lead to birth defects but the majority of the studies are association based. A fraction of those studies have shown how ambient chemical exposure affects insulin sensitivity and lipid metabolism1  or affecting gut-microbiota2. But how early life chemical exposure can affect epigenetics—or change the epigenome and drive the effect till later life was missing. A new study published recently in Nature Communication by Dr. Lindsey Treviño and her [more…]

New Drug Targets Epigenetic Mark, May Help Treat Rare Cancer

June 23, 2020 Danton Ivanochko

In 2020, the FDA approved Epizyme’s drug tazemetostat (Brand name: Tazverik) to treat a rare type of solid tumor called epithelioid sarcoma. Tazemetostat targets the epigenetic enzyme EZH2, which is strongly linked to several cancer types. Now, Epizyme is seeking accelerated approval for tazemetostat to treat a common form of blood cancer called follicular lymphoma, and has clinical trials running for several additional cancer types. Cancer is a genetic disease that causes unrestrained cell proliferation. Typically, chemotherapies treat cancer by [more…]

Betaine Intake During Pregnancy May Epigenetically Effect Transcription

May 26, 2020 Brandon Eudy

Betaine is a methyl-donor nutrient that can be obtained through the diet and is especially rich in spinach, beets, and whole-wheat foods. Alternatively, betaine can be synthesized from choline obtained through other dietary sources. Methyl donor nutrients provide precursors for methyl groups used in important biological processes including methyltransferase enzymes which regulate DNA methylation. There is currently great interest in better understanding how dietary methyl donors can effect epigenetics, and whether changes in DNA methylation can be carried from generation [more…]

Epigenetics Could Explain Why COVID-19 Affects People Differently

May 12, 2020 Fanni Daniella Szakal

Disclaimer: One of the reference papers has not yet been peer-reviewed. The COVID-19 pandemic spread around the globe in a matter of months, leaving devastating human health and economic consequences in its wake. From a viral point of view, this incredible success is the result of a careful balance between its deadliness and contagiousness. While the number of deaths is nearing the 300,000 mark as of May 2020, many who are infected show only mild symptoms or no symptoms at [more…]

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