Epigenetics in the development, modification, and prevention of cardiovascular disease
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Epigenetics has major relevance to all disease processes; cardiovascular (CV) disease and its related conditions are no exception. Epigenetics is defined as the study of heritable alterations in gene expression, or cellular phenotype, and goes far beyond a pure genetic approach. A more precise definition is that epigenetics represents all the meiotically and mitotically inherited changes in gene expression that are not encoded on the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequence itself. Major epigenetic mechanisms are modifications of histone proteins in chromatin and DNA methylation (which does not alter the DNA sequence). There is increasing evidence for the involvement of epigenetics in human disease such as cancer, inflammatory disease and CV disease. Other chronic diseases are also susceptible to epigenetic modification such as metabolic diseases including obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes mellitus. There is much evidence for the modification of epigenetics by nutrition and exercise. Through these modifications, there is infinite potential for benefit for the fetus, the newborn, and the individual as well as population effects. Association with CV disease, including coronary heart disease and peripheral vascular disease, is evident through epigenetic relationships and modification by major CV risk factors such as tobacco abuse. Aging itself may be altered by epigenetic modification. Knowledge of epigenetics and its relevance to the development, modification, and prevention of CV disease is in a very preliminary stage but has an infinite future.
KeywordsEpigenetics Epigenome Chromatin Flavonoids Histone Methylation Cardiovascular disease prevention
Abdominal aortic aneurysm
Apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD
Caspase recruitment domain
Coronary heart disease
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor
Peripheral vascular disease
Reactive oxygen species
The author wishes to recognize the excellent editorial critique of Susan Quick and its contribution to this article.
Conflict of interest
The author has no conflicts of interest to declare with any pharmaceutical or medical device company. Also, he has no stock ownership or other ownership conflict to report.
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