Environmental Epigenetics and Cardiovascular Disease

Environmental Epigenetics and Cardiovascular Disease

– Good morning. My name is Anna Dominiczak. I chaired, this morning, a session on epigenetics, and I would like to introduce
Dr. Andrea Baccarelli, who gave a very elegant presentation on epigenetics in this session. We’re very interested,
what are the main messages for scientist and practicing
clinician in hypertension from your presentation? Our message is very simple,
it comes from our research that our bodies have a program
built in on top of our DNA that programs how our phenotypes, our disease and health
status, develop over time. And this program, as all of our plans, can be influenced by the
environment we live in, our experience, the type of risk factors we’re exposed to, and potentially can influence our risk. And we’re very interested, down the line, to find ways to keep
this program, your DNA, as healthy as possible. And this is about epigenetic mechanisms that are built in on our genome. – You talked about the pollution, and how pollution could
affect all these processes, and I think that’s very
interesting in United States and Europe, but particularly
in countries such as China, India, where
this is a real problem. Could you give an example
how the epigenetic changes happen so quickly after
exposure to pollution? – Absolutely. First of all, we do know that our bodies change quickly in response to pollution. Blood pressure increases faster after an exposure too big to pollution. It might take just a few minutes to hours for blood pressure to increase. And that is something we know very well. And down the line, what we
are really interested in here is to find biomarkers that
can easily be measured to understand how our
genome is reprogrammed in response to air pollution. This is something that is
particularly interesting for us. For instance, these are not only interesting for us but
also for policymakers. Some of them, our fundings have been included by this, definitely. In the statement by the
American Heart Association, in air pollution, it is
something that has been found to be interesting in terms of trying to reduce exposure to these pollutants. And governments that are always looking at this type of research in order to limit the
exposure to populations and individuals to
environmental pollutants. – Apart from exposure, you
also mentioned possible dietary interventions that
sounded really interesting. Can you mention this a little bit? – Absolutely, there is extensive evidence showing that different dietary components, for instance, flavonoids that are found in different types of
foods, or methyl donors that are found both in
meat and vegetables, can influence the epigenome. And this is particularly
interesting because we’ve found that some of
these changes that we’ve found in the epigenome might be reversible, and people with healthy dietary patterns might be more resistant to exposures, and potentially to develop the effects of, the adverse effects of exposures. – Thank you very much. Thank you for your
contribution to our meeting. – Thank you so much. (triumphant sound)

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