UBC Faculty Research and Publications

How Are Epigenetic Modifications Related to Cardiovascular Disease in Older Adults? Gharipour, Mojgan; Mani, Arya; Amini Baghbahadorani, Mona; de Souza Cardoso, Camila Kellen; Jahanfar, Shayesteh; Sarrafzadegan, Nizal; de Oliveira, Cesar; Silveira, Erika Aparecida


The rate of aging has increased globally during recent decades and has led to a rising burden of age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD). At the molecular level, epigenetic modifications have been shown recently to alter gene expression during the life course and impair cellular function. In this regard, several CVD risk factors, such as lifestyle and environmental factors, have emerged as key factors in epigenetic modifications within the cardiovascular system. In this study, we attempted to summarized recent evidence related to epigenetic modification, inflammation response, and CVD in older adults as well as the effect of lifestyle modification as a preventive strategy in this age group. Recent evidence showed that lifestyle and environmental factors may affect epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation, histone acetylation, and miRNA expression. Several substances or nutrients such as selenium, magnesium, curcumin, and caffeine (present in coffee and some teas) could regulate epigenetics. Similarly, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption, air pollutants, psychological stress, and shift working are well-known modifiers of epigenetic patterns. Understanding the exact ways that lifestyle and environmental factors could affect the expression of genes could help to influence the time of incidence and severity of aging-associated diseases. This review highlighted that a healthy lifestyle throughout the life course, such as a healthy diet rich in fibers, vitamins, and essential elements, and specific fatty acids, adequate physical activity and sleep, smoking cessation, and stress control, could be useful tools in preventing epigenetic changes that lead to impaired cardiovascular function.

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