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Does Methylation Affect Epigenome and Gene Expression ?

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Wayne, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Ashland, Oregon
    Hi All,

    I just viewed a segment from NOVA again today that was first broadcast back in 2007. I can't help but think much of what is in the 13-minute video (below) and a separate slide-show on the same topic, may have implications for PWCs.

    These two reports touch on DNA methylation, and how it affects gene expression. It also mentions how various environmental exposures can do the same. Interestingly, some of these gene expressions are able to be modulated with various therapies, with some serious diseases going into remission in clinical trials.

    I found it all quite fascinating, so thought I would share it here. I'm not sure if the "DNA methylation" referred to is the same as the methylation Rich Van Konynenburg writes about. If so, it could mean that some of the improvements some PWCs notice from doing the methylation supplements may have to do with affected gene expression as well as improved detoxification capabilities.

    Best, Wayne
    ..........................................................

    A Tale of Two Mice (Below is the introduction to this slide show)

    A mouse gives birth to identical-twin sisters. One has brown fur and will grow up to be lean and healthy; the other has yellow fur and is destined to be obese and prone to disease. How can two mice sharing exactly the same DNA become so different? The answer lies in the epigenome, a kind of second genome that all animals have, including humans. The epigenome dictates which genes in the genome are turned on and which are not, a process that can differ even between identical twins. In this audio slide show, see how this process works in mice and what the implications are for our own health and that of our children and even grandchildren.—Rima Chaddha
    ................................................................

    Epigenetics (13-minute video)

    Environmental factors can alter the way our genes are expressed, making even identical twins different. Aired July 24, 2007 on PBS

    • Posted 07.01.07
    • NOVA scienceNOW
    [​IMG]

    P.S. In the above video, they were able to graphically illustrate how the epigenics (gene expression) of identical twins diverge more and more as they go through life. So even though they have identical genes throughout their lifetimes, the expression of these genes is dramatically different by the time they reach their senior years.
  2. richvank

    richvank Senior Member

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    Hi, Wayne.

    Right on!

    Yes, the methylation for which I am encouraging treatment in ME/CFS is the same methylation that is involved in methylation of DNA, which "silences" it, and it is also a major actor in epigenomics.

    As you may know, Dr. Kerr reported many more genes overexpressed than underexpressed in ME/CFS. This is the direction one would expect if there is a methylation deficit.

    Another interesting aspect is that the retroviruses integrate their complementary DNA into the human DNA. I think it will turn out to be very likely that methylation will influence the expression of the retroviral genes in ME/CFS.

    And I think it is very likely that you are right that lifting the methylation cycle block in CFS will change the expression of genes, which in turn will impact the biochemistry positively. This type of treatment is likely impacting the biochemistry at a very basic level by this mechanism.

    There is a lot that we don't yet understand about this, but I'm assured by Judy Mikovits and Jill James that they are collaborating to try to sort this part out.

    Best regards,

    Rich
  3. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    Duke Epigenetics Lab

    Hi Wayne,

    You might also be interested in the work of Dr. Randy Jirtle at Duke. http://www.geneimprint.com/lab/intro/ An interview with him was linked in the Nova web coverage of that video.

    A few years ago, I tried to interest him in studying ME/CFS. He replied that, at that time, they were funded for studying "high profile" illnesses that impacted the masses--maybe we will get that distinction some day!

    Anyway, he is doing very good work in this field.

    Sushi
  4. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Ashland, Oregon
    Can Fermented Products Support Methylation Cycle ?

    Hi Rich,

    Thanks much for your reply. Have to say, this is giving me some whole new perspectives on a number of things. I look forward to seeing where WPI goes with their research; could prove VERY interesting.

    I've been meaning to ask you something that may be relevant here. I started drinking raw goat milk kefir this past year, which eventually became a significant staple in my diet. I felt better, and initially thought the reasons were because of the beneficial bacteria and the easy digestability.

    But recently, I've been wondering if my feeling better might be because fermented products are rich in certain nutrients, especially B-vitamins, and that they may be better supporting my methylation cycle. I've also heard certain B-vitamins, especially B-12, can be synthesized in the body of the GI flora is healthy.

    Do you think this could be the case? Also, I was wondering if are you aware of any CFS health care practitioners who are recommending various fermented products as an additional methylation cycle support?

    Thanks much.

    Wayne
  5. richvank

    richvank Senior Member

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    Hi, Wayne.

    It's true that gut bacteria do produce B vitamins. Here's an abstract of a review paper about that:

    Eur J Cancer Prev. 1997 Mar;6 Suppl 1:S43-5.
    Intestinal flora and endogenous vitamin synthesis.

    Hill MJ.

    European Cancer Prevention Organization, Lady Sobell Gastrointestinal Unit, Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, Berkshire, UK.
    Abstract

    It is well established that the rumen microbial flora are a rich source of vitamins to the ruminant, and that the faecal bacterial flora are a major vitamin source for coprophagic rodents. There is also good evidence that the gut bacterial flora are a significant source of a range of vitamins to the human. In this paper evidence is presented that gut bacteria are a significant source of a range of vitamins, particularly those of the B group and vitamin K.

    PMID: 9167138 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


    This ability of the bacteria is being exploited by engineering the bacteria to raise the production, especially in lactic acid bacteria, as found in fermented milk products:


    Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2002 Oct;13(5):497-507.
    Nutraceutical production with food-grade microorganisms.

    Hugenholtz J, Smid EJ.

    Wageningen Centre for Food Sciences, PO Box 20, 6710 BA Ede, The Netherlands. hugenhol@nizo.nl
    Abstract

    Over the past few years a number of new food ingredients labelled as being nutraceuticals have been launched on the food and pharmaceutical market. These include components that have a proven beneficial effect on human health, such as low-calorie sugars and B vitamins. Lactic acid bacteria, in particular Lactococcus lactis, have been demonstrated to be ideal cell factories for the production of these important nutraceuticals. Developments in the genetic engineering of food-grade microoganisms means that the production of certain nutraceuticals can be enhanced or newly induced through overexpression and/or disruption of relevant metabolic genes.

    PMID: 12459344 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


    So yes, I do think it's possible that the goat milk kefir is raising your levels of B vitamins, and yes, they are needed by the methylation cycle, as well as for energy metabolism and neurotransmitter production and metabolism, among other things.

    With regard to health care practitioners who are recommending fermented products as an additional methylation cycle support, I think the one most up to speed on this is Dr. Kenny de Meirleir. At a Ratna Ling working group symposium a couple of years ago, he made the point that gut bacteria produce vitamins, some of which are needed by the methylation cycle. I had just given a talk about the partial methylation cycle block in ME/CFS. As you probably know, he has emphasized the importance of the gut and the immune system in ME/CFS for a long time. I think his point was that the methylation problems in ME/CFS may also start from problems in the gut. He does prescribe probiotics, which are made from fermentation. I think he uses a combination of VSL#3 for the lactobacillus and bifidobacteria, and Mutaflor from Germany for the friendly E. coli.

    Best regards,

    Rich
  6. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Logan, Queensland, Australia
    Hi Wayne, there is Canadian research from some of the same people who developed Immunocal that shows that kefir can help CFS symptoms. I dimly recall some Australian research showing it switches off excess immune activity in the gut. Kefir is a very interesting direction for research. The Canadian research uses dead kefir too - it not active probiotics that are making the difference, but the kefir does modify an immune response from what I understand.

    bye
    Alex

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