Disruption in the epigenetic mechanisms that control the activity of different genes was found to lead to diseases such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.
In the past decade, knowledge of how lifestyle affects our genes, a research field called epigenetics, has grown exponentially. Researchers at Lund University have summarised the state of scientific knowledge within epigenetics linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes in a review article published in the scientific journal Cell Metabolism.
‘Epigenetic mechanisms play an important role in disease development. ’
This review summarises the role of epigenetic changes in different human tissues of relevance for metabolism, for example, in adipose tissue, skeletal muscle, pancreatic islets (which, among other things, contain the insulin-producing cells), liver and blood, linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
"Similarly, the epigenetic patterns are affected by disease. Variations in genetic material (DNA), age, exercise and diet also have an impact on epigenetic variation", says Charlotte Ling, professor and pioneer in the field of epigenetics and diabetes who authored the review together with researcher Tina Rönn.
The researchers detail the latest findings in epigenetics in the following categories:
The significance of diet
The significance of genes
Is the epigenome heritable?
How can epigenetics contribute to novel treatments?