[Nutritionnal epigenomics: consequences of unbalanced diets on epigenetics processes of programming during lifespan and between generations]

C Junien, C Gallou-Kabani, A Vigé, M-S Gross
Annales D'endocrinologie 2005, 66 (2 Pt 3): 2S19-28
Epigenetic changes associated with DNA methylation and histone modifications leading to chromatin remodeling and regulation of gene expression underlie the developmental programming of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and metabolic syndrome. This review focuses on converging data supporting the hypothesis that, in addition to "thrifty genotype" inheritance, individuals with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome (MetS) with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases have suffered improper "epigenetic programming" during their fetal/postnatal development due to maternal inadequate nutrition and metabolic disturbances and also during their lifetime, that could even be transmitted to the next generation(s). We highlight the susceptibility of epigenetic mechanisms controlling gene expression to environmental influences due to their inherent malleability, emphasizing the participation of transposable elements and the potential role of imprinted genes during critical time windows in epigenetic programming, from the very beginning of development, throughout life. Increasing our understanding on epigenetic patterns significance and their role in development, evolution and adaptation and on small molecules (nutrients, drugs) that reverse epigenetic (in)activation should provide us with the means to "unlock" silenced (enhanced) genes, and to "convert" the obsolete human thrifty genotype into a "squandering" phenotype.

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