All about vasopressin

This 2021 review subject was vasopressin:

“Vasopressin is a ubiquitous molecule playing an important role in a wide range of physiological processes, thereby implicated in pathomechanisms of many disorders. The most striking is its central effect in stress-axis regulation, as well as regulating many aspects of our behavior.

Arginine-vasopressin (AVP) is a nonapeptide that is synthesized mainly in the supraoptic, paraventricular (PVN), and suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus. AVP cell groups of hypothalamus and midbrain were found to be glutamatergic, whereas those in regions derived from cerebral nuclei were mainly GABAergic.

In the PVN, AVP can be found together with corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), the main hypothalamic regulator of the HPA axis. The AVPergic system participates in regulation of several physiological processes, from stress hormone release through memory formation, thermo- and pain regulation, to social behavior.

vasopressin stress axis

AVP determines behavioral responses to environmental stimuli, and participates in development of social interactions, aggression, reproduction, parental behavior, and belonging. Alterations in AVPergic tone may be implicated in pathology of stress-related disorders (anxiety and depression), Alzheimer’s, posttraumatic stress disorder, as well as schizophrenia.

An increasing body of evidence confirms epigenetic contribution to changes in AVP or AVP receptor mRNA level, not only during the early perinatal period, but also in adulthood:

  • DNA methylation is more targeted on a single gene; and it is better characterized in relation to AVP;
  • Some hint for bidirectional interaction with histone acetylation was also described; and
  • miRNAs are implicated in the hormonal, peripheral role of AVP, and less is known about their interaction regarding behavioral alteration.”

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/22/17/9415/htm “Epigenetic Modulation of Vasopressin Expression in Health and Disease”


Find your way, regardless of what the herd does.

PXL_20210911_103344386

Part 2 of Improving epigenetic clocks’ signal-to-noise ratio

Another excellent blog post by Josh Mitteldorf, A New Approach to Methylation Clocks, that curated the same study:

“The Levine/Horvath PhenoAge epigenetic clock was calibrated using a combination of metabolic factors that correlate with health, including inflammation, DNA transcription, DNA repair, and mitochondrial activity.

Evolution is not an engineer. Living things are not constructed out of parts that are separately optimized for exactly one function.

Every molecule has multiple functions. Every function is regulated by multiple pathways.

For clock technology, using individual CpGs for a starting point may not be optimal. We suspect that CpGs, like other biological entities, work together closely in teams.

CpGs on a team might vary slightly from one individual to the next. But the team has a function and an identity and a signature that is robust. We expect the team to function more consistently than any of its individual members.

The peer-reviewed version of her paper will be published shortly. Full details of algorithms will be available on GitHub, and script in the R programming language will be released for use of other researchers. If principal component analysis clocks correlate well with previously validated clocks but offer tighter uncertainties, we’ll know we’re on the right track.”


Best wishes for Josh to recover from a bike accident.

PXL_20210817_102815540

Your pet’s biological age

This 2021 cat study developed human-comparable epigenetic clocks:

We aimed to develop and evaluate epigenetic clocks for cats, as such biomarkers are necessary for translating promising anti-aging interventions from humans to cats and vice versa. We also provided the possibility of using epigenetic aging rate of cats to inform on feline health, for which a quantitative measure is presently unavailable. Specifically, we present here DNA methylation-based biomarkers (epigenetic clocks) of age for blood from cats.

Maximum lifespan of cats is 30 years according to the animal age data base (anAge), but most cats succumb to diseases before they are 20 years old. Age is the biggest risk factor for a vast majority of diseases in animals, and cats are no exception.

Interventions to slow aging are being sought. Ideally, testing should occur in species that are evolutionarily close to humans, similar in size, have high genetic diversity, and share the same environment as humans. It has been recognized that domestic dogs fulfill these criteria.

Investigations have yet to be extended to cats although they share similar environments and living conditions with their human owners. Identification of environmental factors and living conditions that affect aging, as well as potential mitigation measures, can be achieved by proxy with cats.

The human-cat clock for relative age exhibited high correlation regardless of whether analysis was applied to samples from both species or only to cat samples. This demonstrated that relative age circumvented skewing that is inherent when chronological age of species with very different lifespans is measured using a single formula.

Evidence is compelling that epigenetic age is an indicator of biological age. These results are consistent with the fact that epigenetic clocks developed for one mammalian species can be employed – to a limited extent – to other species, and reveal association of DNA methylation changes with age.

Human epigenetic age acceleration is associated with a wide array of primary traits, health states, and pathologies. While it is still unclear why age acceleration is connected to these characteristics, it does nevertheless suggest that extension of similar studies to cats may allow for development of epigenetic age acceleration as a surrogate or indicator of feline biological fitness.”

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11357-021-00445-8 “Epigenetic clock and methylation studies in cats”


As noted earlier this summer in Smoke and die early, while your twin lives on, Dr. Steve Horvath is on a torrid publishing streak this year. He’s made it questionable for study designs based on published science to omit epigenetic clocks.

I titled this post Your pets because I’m too allergic to have cats, dogs, etc. live with me. Maybe this year’s focus on making my gut microbiota happy will change that?

My pets live free:

PXL_20210830_102958658
PXL_20210825_101005621

No magic bullet, only magical thinking

Consider this a repost of Dr. Paul Clayton’s blog post The Drugs Don’t Work:

“The drug industry has enough funds to:

  • Rent politicians;
  • Subvert regulatory agencies;
  • Publish fake data in the most august peer-reviewed literature; and
  • Warp the output of medical schools everywhere.

Their products are a common cause of death. Every year, America’s aggressively modern approach to disease kills over 100,000 in-hospital patients, and twice that number of out-patients.

In 1900, a third of all deaths occurred in children under the age of 5. By 2000 this had fallen to 1.4%. The resulting 30-year increase in average life expectancy fed into the seductive and prevailing myth that we are all living longer; which is manifestly untrue. Improvements in sanitation were far more significant in pushing infections back than any medical developments.

There is currently no pharmaceutical cure for Alzheimer’s or Parkinsonism, nor can there be when these syndromes are in most cases driven by multiple metabolic distortions caused by today’s diet. The brain is so very complex, and it can go wrong in so many ways. The idea that we can find a magic bullet for either of these syndromes is ill-informed and philosophically mired in the past.

It is also dangerous. There is a significant sub-group of dementia sufferers whose conditions are driven and exacerbated by pharmaceuticals. Chronic use of a number of commonly prescribed drugs – and ironically, anti-Parkinson drugs – increases the risk of dementia by roughly 50%.

Big Pharma’s ability to subvert regulatory authorities is even more dangerous. The recent FDA approval of Biogen’s drug aducanumab is a scandal; not one member of the FDA Advisory Committee voted to approve this ineffective product, and three of them resigned in the aftermath of the FDA’s edict. This ‘anti-Alzheimer’s’ drug, which will earn Biogen $56,000 / patient / year, was licensed for financial reasons; it reduced amyloid plaque but was clinically ineffective.

So did the eagerly awaited gantenerumab and solanezumab. But they, too, failed to produce any significant clinical benefit.”


A knee-replacement patient enduring her daily workout

PXL_20210822_102713662

PTSD susceptibility?

This 2021 rodent study investigated post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) susceptibility:

“PTSD is an incapacitating trauma-related disorder, with no reliable therapy. We show distinct DNA methylation profiles of PTSD susceptibility in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Data analysis revealed overall hypomethylation of different genomic CpG sites in susceptible animals.

Is it possible to treat PTSD by targeting epigenetic processes? Such an approach might reverse genomic underpinning of PTSD and serve as a cure.

To test plausibility of such an approach, a reliable animal (rat) model with high construct validity is needed. Previously, we reported one such model, which uses predator-associated trauma, and cue reminders to evoke recurring trauma. This simulates clinical PTSD symptoms including re-experiencing, avoidance, and hyperarousal.

Individual PTSD-like (susceptible) behavior is analyzed, enabling identification of susceptible animals separately from those that are non-PTSD-like (resilient). This model captures salient features of this disorder in humans, in which only a fraction of trauma victims develop PTSD, while others are resilient.

experimental model

Sprague–Dawley rats were exposed to trauma and to three subsequent trauma-associated reminders. Freezing behavior was measured under conditions of:

  • Exploration;
  • Social interaction (with a companion); and
  • Hyperarousal.

Controls were exposed to identical conditions except for the traumatic event.

PTSD-like behavior of each animal was compared with baseline and with the population. Two unambiguous sub-populations were identified, resilient and susceptible.

After exposure to trauma and its reminders, susceptible animals showed an increase from baseline in freezing behavior, and over time in all three behavioral tests, as opposed to resilient and control groups.

DMRs

Differentially methylated sites in susceptible and resilient animals compared to control group.

Although we focused in this study on DNA methylation changes that associate with susceptibility, we also report unique changes in DNA methylation that occur in resilient animals. Inhibition of critical genes that are downregulated in susceptible animals convert resilient animals to become susceptible.”

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/353192082_Reduction_of_DNMT3a_and_RORA_in_the_nucleus_accumbens_plays_a_causal_role_in_post-traumatic_stress_disorder-like_behavior_reversal_by_combinatorial_epigenetic_therapy “Reduction of DNMT3a and RORA in the nucleus accumbens plays a causal role in post-traumatic stress disorder-like behavior: reversal by combinatorial epigenetic therapy” (registration required)


Rodents with the same genetics and environment displayed individual differences in their responses to traumatic events. Please provide evidence for that before venturing elsewhere.

Not sure why it took 3+ years for this study received in November 2017 to finally be published in July 2021. Sites other than https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-021-01178-y are more transparent about their peer review and publication processes.

No causes for PTSD susceptibility were investigated. PTSD effects and symptoms aren’t causes, notwithstanding this study’s finding that:

“Our results support a causal role for the NAc as a critical brain region for expression of PTSD-like behaviors, and a role for programming genes by DNA methylation in the NAc in development of PTSD-like behaviors.”

Can’t say that I understand more about causes for PTSD susceptibility now than before I read this study. Researchers attaching significance to gene functional groups seemed like hypothesis-seeking efforts to overcome limited findings.

Will this study’s combination of a methyl donor with a Vitamin A metabolite address PTSD causes in humans? If it only temporarily alleviates symptoms, what lasting value will it have?


Several brain and body areas that store traumatic memories other than the nucleus accumbens were mentioned in The role of recall neurons in traumatic memories. A wide range of epigenetic memory storage vehicles is one reason why effective human therapies need to address each individual, their whole body, and their entire history.

PXL_20210714_095056317

Osprey breakfast

Improving epigenetic clocks’ signal-to-noise ratio

This 2021 computational study investigated several methods of improving epigenetic clock reliability:

“Epigenetic clocks are widely used aging biomarkers calculated from DNA methylation data. Unfortunately, measurements for individual CpGs can be surprisingly unreliable due to technical noise, and this may limit the utility of epigenetic clocks.

Noise produces deviations up to 3 to 9 years between technical replicates for six major epigenetic clocks. Elimination of low-reliability CpGs does not ameliorate this issue.

Here, we present a novel computational multi-step solution to address this noise, involving performing principal component analysis (PCA) on the CpG-level data followed by biological age prediction using principal components as input. This method extracts shared systematic variation in DNAm while minimizing random noise from individual CpGs.

Our novel principal-component versions of six clocks show agreement between most technical replicates within 0 to 1.5 years, equivalent or improved prediction of outcomes, and more stable trajectories in longitudinal studies and cell culture. This method entails only one additional step compared to traditional clocks, does not require prior knowledge of CpG reliabilities, and can improve the reliability of any existing or future epigenetic biomarker.

PC-based clocks showed greatly improved agreement between technical replicates, with 90+% agreeing within 1-1.5 years. The median deviation ranged from 0.3 to 0.8 years, whereas CpG clocks ranged from 0.9-2.4 years.

PCPhenoAge vs. PhenoAge

The most dramatic improvement was in PhenoAge. CpG-trained PhenoAge has a median deviation of 2.4 years, 3rd quartile of 5 years, and maximum of 8.6 years. In contrast, PCPhenoAge has a median deviation of 0.6 years, 3rd quartile of 0.9 years, and maximum of 1.6 years. PCPhenoAge was trained directly on phenotypic age based on clinical biomarkers rather than DNAm.

Correlations between different PC clocks was stronger than between CpG clocks. This may be partly due to the shared set of CpGs used to train PCs, or due to the reduction of noise that would have biased correlations towards the null. Correlations between PC clocks and CpG clocks tended to be stronger compared to correlations between CpG clocks and CpG clocks, consistent with a reduction of noise.

PC clocks preserve relevant aging signals unique to each of their CpG counterparts. They reduce technical variance but maintain relevant biological variance.

PCA is a commonly used tool and does not require specialized knowledge. High reliability of principal component-based epigenetic clocks will make them particularly useful for applications in personalized medicine and clinical trials evaluating novel aging interventions.”

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.04.16.440205v1.full “A computational solution for bolstering reliability of epigenetic clocks: Implications for clinical trials and longitudinal tracking”


I appreciate that a coauthor – who is the originator of PhenoAge – is open to evidence and improvements. There’s a fun do-it-yourself demo of PCA at https://setosa.io/ev/principal-component-analysis/.

I found this study from it citing a 2021 review:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1084952121000094 “Aging biomarkers and the brain” (not freely available)

I found that review from it citing a 2020 study:

https://www.cell.com/iscience/fulltext/S2589-0042(20)30384-9 “Human Gut Microbiome Aging Clock Based on Taxonomic Profiling and Deep Learning”

Maybe this last study could be improved from its “mean absolute error of 5.91 years” with PCA? See Part 2 for another view.


PXL_20210704_092829847

Take acetyl-L-carnitine for early-life trauma

This 2021 rodent study traumatized female mice during their last 20% of pregnancy, with effects that included:

  • Prenatally stressed pups raised by stressed mothers had normal cognitive function, but depressive-like behavior and social impairment;
  • Prenatally stressed pups raised by control mothers did not reverse behavioral deficits; and
  • Control pups raised by stressed mothers displayed prenatally stressed pups’ behavioral phenotypes.

Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) protected against and reversed depressive-like behavior induced by prenatal trauma:

alcar regime

ALCAR was supplemented in drinking water of s → S mice either from weaning to adulthood (3–8 weeks), or for one week in adulthood (7–8 weeks). ALCAR supplementation from weaning rendered s → S mice resistant to developing depressive-like behavior.

ALCAR supplementation for 1 week during adulthood rescued depressive-like behavior. One week after ALCAR cessation, however, the anti-depressant effect of ALCAR was diminished.

Intergenerational trauma induces social deficits and depressive-like behavior through divergent and convergent mechanisms of both in utero and early-life parenting environments:

  • We establish 2-HG [2-hydroxyglutaric acid, a hypoxia and mitochondrial dysfunction marker, and an epigenetic modifier] as an early predictive biomarker for trauma-induced behavioral deficits; and
  • Demonstrate that early pharmacological correction of mitochondria metabolism dysfunction by ALCAR can permanently reverse behavioral deficits.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s42003-021-02255-2 “Intergenerational trauma transmission is associated with brain metabotranscriptome remodeling and mitochondrial dysfunction”


Previously curated studies cited were:

This study had an effusive endorsement of acetyl-L-carnitine in its Discussion section, ending with:

“This has the potential to change lives of millions of people who suffer from major depression or have risk of developing this disabling disorder, particularly those in which depression arose from prenatal traumatic stress.”

I take a gram daily. Don’t know about prenatal trauma, but I’m certain what happened during my early childhood.

I asked both these researchers and those of Reference 70 for their estimates of a human equivalent to “0.3% ALCAR in drinking water.” Will update with their replies.


PXL_20210704_095621886

Part 2 of Week 63 of Changing to a youthful phenotype with sprouts

To follow up Part 1, received Thursday’s lab results yesterday. Downloaded the workbook at https://michaellustgarten.com/2019/09/09/quantifying-biological-age/ and filled it in. Went to http://aging.ai/, selected 3.0, and entered values.

My starting point’s calculated values were:

biological age 1

A biological age snapshot from a year ago‘s video included optimal ranges:

optimizing biological age

Values in these optimal ranges were:

  • Albumin: 46;
  • Creatinine: 1.07;
  • high-sensitivity C-reactive protein: 0.24;
  • Red cell distribution width: 11.8; and
  • White blood cell count: 4.6.

I have some work to do on the other four. Good health while aging seldom happens on its own.

Reading more about Phenotypic age and its biological relationships. It definitely doesn’t mean I can do things I did 9.5 years ago like play golf and Frisbee football on the weekends.

I’d probably use DNAm PhenoAge to compare with other epigenetic clocks. Not sure how to use Aging.ai 3.0 calculations.

Sometime over the past year, Labcorp changed their adult alkaline phosphatase reference range from 39-117 to 48-121. Don’t know whether alkaline phosphatase’s optimal range will change with Labcorp’s new range, since < 48 was based on all-cause-mortality data.

PXL_20210622_093759263

Smoke and die early, while your twin lives on

A 2021 human twin study investigated epigenetic clocks:

“This study showed that accelerated epigenetic aging is associated with increased mortality, and smoking plays a role in explaining this association. Present findings suggest that DNAm GrimAge is a strong predictor of mortality independent of genetic influences among female twin pairs.

An invitation to participate in the study was sent to 414 female twin pairs, aged 63–76 years. Of 199 twin pairs, at least one twin died in 112 pairs during follow-up:

twins

This epigenetic age estimate that measures biological age and runs alongside, but not always in parallel with chronological age, may inform life expectancy predictions. Further research is needed to determine whether results apply to men, and the extent to which DNA methylation age can be used as a clinical biomarker of lifespan.”

https://clinicalepigeneticsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13148-021-01112-7 “Does the epigenetic clock GrimAge predict mortality independent of genetic influences: an 18 year follow-up study in older female twin pairs”


If you don’t have a twin, substitute yourself as an analogous entity who has opposite behaviors. Don’t assume that smoking cannabis will produce different results from tobacco.

Meanwhile, Dr. Steven Horvath, who has a twin, continued his 2021 torrent of coauthored studies last week with Epigenetic clock and methylation studies in elephants. Amazing epigenetic clock information being published this year. Dr. Horvath is completely open to evidence, IAW, a real scientist.

All about the betaine

A trio of papers on betaine, the first being a 2021 series of thorough rodent experiments relating betaine and gut microbiota, and cause and effect:

“Compared with lean individuals, adipose tissues in obese individuals secrete high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6, inducing:

  • Systemic inflammation;
  • Insulin resistance;
  • Large amounts of carcinogenic factors; and
  • Increasing risk of certain types of cancer such as melanoma, colon cancer, and liver cancer.

Prebiotics obtained from fruits and vegetables can regulate host lipid metabolism and glucose homeostasis by reversing gut dysbiosis in obese individuals.

kgmi_a_1862612_f0005_oc

Results of this study show that dietary betaine alleviated gut microbiota imbalance in obese mice, and reduced development of obesity and obesity-related complications. Regulation of the miR-378a-YY1 regulatory axis by gut microbial acetate and butyrate was a critical mechanism for modulating:

  • White adipose tissue browning;
  • Classical brown adipose tissue activation; and
  • Lipid and glucose homeostasis

in obese mice after betaine supplementation.

These findings offer novel insights into underlying mechanisms by which gut microbiota affect host metabolism and host immune system, and demonstrate that the betaine-gut microbiota-derived signal axis is a potential therapeutic target in obesity and metabolic syndrome.”

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19490976.2020.1862612 “Dietary betaine prevents obesity through gut microbiota-drived microRNA-378a family”


A second 2021 paper was a meta-analysis of effects on human cardiovascular biomarkers:

“Betaine supplementation had a significant effect on concentrations of:

  • Betaine;
  • Total cholesterol;
  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL);
  • Homocysteine [negative effect]; and
  • Methionine.

Betaine supplementation did not affect serum concentrations of:

  • Triglycerides;
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL);
  • Fasting blood glucose;
  • C-reactive protein;
  • Liver enzymes alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT); and
  • Blood pressure.

Our meta-analysis supports the advantage of a lower dose of betaine supplementation (<4 g/d) on homocysteine concentrations without the lipid-augmenting effect observed with a higher dosage.”

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408398.2021.1902938 “Effects of betaine supplementation on cardiovascular markers: A systematic review and Meta-analysis” (not freely available)


A third paper was a 2014 cereal analysis of betaine and its precursor choline that found a 224% increase in betaine from 62 to 139 μg/g and a 31% increase in choline from microwaving oats:

“Betaine and its precursor choline are important components of one-carbon metabolism, remethylating homocysteine into methionine and providing methyl groups for DNA methylation. Cereals are the main source of betaine in diet.

During cooking processes which did not involve removal of water (in this case oat porridge microwaved using instant oats) appeared to lead to creation of betaine. Explanations for this phenomenon could be that betaine is synthesised during the process, or that heating with water liberates betaine from cereal matrix, enhancing efficiency of extraction.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0308814613012247 “Cereal foods are the major source of betaine in the Western diet – Analysis of betaine and free choline in cereal foods and updated assessments of betaine intake” (not freely available)


Another 2021 betaine (aka trimethyl glycine) study was curated in Ride the waves of gene expression with betaine for its role in preventing nerve disease. I take 1.5 grams of a betaine supplement every morning and evening when eating hulled Avena sativa 3-day-old oat sprouts.

I found the first two papers from their citing a 2016 human and rodent study Dietary Betaine Supplementation Increases Fgf21 Levels to Improve Glucose Homeostasis and Reduce Hepatic Lipid Accumulation in Mice, which was linked in a comment on this 2021 video:

Ride the waves of gene expression with betaine

This 2021 cell study investigated a dietary supplement’s role in preventing nerve disease:

“A loss of epigenetic control has been implicated in development of neurodegenerative diseases. Previous studies have implicated aberrant DNA and histone methylation in multiple sclerosis (MS) disease pathogenesis.

We have previously reported that methyl donor betaine is depleted in MS and is linked to changes in histone H3 trimethylation (H3K4me3) in neurons. We have also shown that betaine increases histone methyltransferase activity by activating chromatin bound betaine homocysteine S-methyltransferase (BHMT).

A hallmark of MS is the death of oligodendrocytes, the cells responsible for wrapping axons in myelin in the central nervous system and maintaining a healthy sheath. In demyelinating diseases like MS, oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) fail to differentiate and make more myelin, resulting in sclerotic lesions.

Promoting differentiation of OPCs and generation of myelin is of great interest as a novel MS therapy. Waves of gene regulation (repression and activation) need to occur to promote myelination.

This BHMT-betaine methylation pathway ensures availability of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) for a variety of DNA and histone methylation processes. OPC survival and differentiation are dependent upon DNA and histone methylation, and both processes require SAM.

journal.pone.0250486.g001

BHMT uses betaine to remethylate homocysteine to methionine. Betaine can be taken in through the diet or synthesized through the oxidation of choline in mitochondria.

We demonstrated that oligodendrocyte gene expression can be modulated by betaine supplementation through the BHMT-betaine methylation pathway. Our study suggests that dietary betaine supplementation may prove to be a therapeutic agent for MS and other demyelinating disorders.”

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0250486 “The BHMT-betaine methylation pathway epigenetically modulates oligodendrocyte maturation”


I started taking betaine 16 years ago. Didn’t know of these effects until reading this study.

Treating psychopathological symptoms will somehow resolve causes? had more on betaine (aka trimethyl glycine). Current dose is 1.5 grams twice daily.

Giving children allergies with pets

This 2021 human study investigated development and persistence of allergies:

“Allergic rhinitis (AR) is a common IgE-mediated disorder involving troublesome symptoms of nasal congestion, nasal itch, sneezing, and associated eye symptoms. Like many chronic health conditions, AR stems from complex gene–environment interactions.

130 subjects with AR were recruited. Control population included 154 healthy children who underwent a regular physical examination in the same ear, nose and throat clinic as AR patients. Individuals with history of asthma or atopic dermatitis were excluded.

AR analysis

Plenty of contradictory associations exist as whether furred pet exposure (cats and dogs) may be a risk or a protective factor for AR development. Discrepancies are likely due to the ubiquitous nature of pet allergens, while pet owners are more concerned about sanitation and many other hygiene-related reasons.

Interaction of early-life pet exposure with methylation level of ADAM33 increased the risk for AR onset 1.423 times more in children. This study provides evidence that:

  • Early-life pet exposure and low methylation level of ADAM33 increase AR risk in children; and
  • The interaction between pet exposure and methylation level of ADAM33 may play an important role in development of AR.”

https://aacijournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13223-021-00526-5 “Interaction between early-life pet exposure and methylation pattern of ADAM33 on allergic rhinitis among children aged 3–6 years in China”


There’s nothing children can do about who their parents were. Exposing them to pet allergens, though, may be another example of early-life experiences causing lifelong effects.

Happy Mothers Day

This 2021 rodent study investigated effects on offspring of maternal high-fat diet (HFD) during gestation and lactation, and offspring HFD during young adulthood:

“We found that gestation was the most sensitive period to induce obesity in late life, and there was no difference between sexes in chance of obesity. Furthermore, we found that lactation and administration of a HFD post‐weaning increased incidence of lipid metabolism disorders and obesity in offspring.

gestational hfd effects on offspring

There are different windows of opportunity for programming epigenetically labile genes. Some studies support the alteration of epigenetic status during development as an important cause induced adult obesity.

Gestation is considered as the most sensitive period because high DNA synthesis and DNA methylation patterns are established for normal tissue development during the embryonic period. These two programming events are the times when the epigenetic state changes most widely in the life cycle.”

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcmm.16551 “Gestational high-fat diet impaired demethylation of Pparα and induced obesity of offspring”


Hey mothers! Do what you please. But don’t turn around and deny consequences of your behavior and choices on your descendants’ physiology and behavior, and possibly those of further descendants.

Gestation, birth, infancy, and early childhood are critical periods for humans. There’s no going back to correct errors and problems.

An overlooked gut microbiota product

This 2021 review subject was histone crotonylation:

“Histone crotonylation is a newly identified epigenetic modification that has a pronounced ability to regulate gene expression. It belongs to an expanding group of short chain lysine acylations that also includes the extensively studied mark histone acetylation.

Histone Kcr was first identified in 2011 where it was found to be mainly associated with active chromatin. Kcr occurs on the ε-amino group of the lysine side chain, where it neutralizes the positive charge of this residue. The loss in positive charge on histone Lys residues weakens DNA interaction, thus making chromatin less compact and accessible to DNA-binding factors.

Crotonate, like other short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), is mainly produced by gut microbiota during fermentation of partially and nondigestible carbohydrates. Circulating SCFAs (acetate, crotonate, butyrate, and propionate) can be taken up by tissues and converted into their cognate short-chain acyl-CoAs, the direct donors of histone Lys acylations.

fcell-09-624914-g001

Crotonyl-CoA is generated as a by-product of fatty acid and amino acid metabolism. Synthesis of crotonyl-CoA can occur in mitochondria or the cytoplasm. Evidence suggests that histone acylations are directly sensitive to changes in concentrations of their corresponding acyl-CoA metabolites, and therefore can act as indicators of cellular metabolic state.

Only a small number of Kcr sites in human histones have been identified so far. This is in part due to a lack of commercially available Kcr site-specific antibodies, which has meant much of the research in this field has focused on studying total histone crotonylation. This is likely to limit our understanding of the importance of histone Kcr, as functional impact of modification at specific sites cannot be readily assessed.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcell.2021.624914/full “The Regulation and Function of Histone Crotonylation”


At first I thought I had missed recent studies of gut microbiota producing crotonate. Searching again for “crotonate” “microbiota” 2020 2021, I didn’t find any that weren’t cited by this paper.

A lack of research could be due to factors mentioned above. It may also be that researchers just don’t look for evidence of the circulating SCFA crotonate.

Repositioning DNA methylation

This 2021 human study found:

“We report on a randomized controlled clinical trial conducted among 43 healthy adult males between the ages of 50-72. The 8-week treatment program included diet, sleep, exercise and relaxation guidance, and supplemental probiotics and phytonutrients.

This is the first randomized controlled study to suggest that specific diet and lifestyle interventions may reverse Horvath DNAmAge (2013) epigenetic aging in healthy adult males. Larger-scale and longer duration clinical trials are needed to confirm these findings, as well as investigation in other human populations.

aging-v13iundefined-202913-figure-f3

In both treatment and control groups, there was no net increase or decrease in methylation of 353 sites that compose the Horvath clock. This finding suggests that intervention did not lead to an overall increase in methylation of Horvath clock sites, but rather it prompted a repositioning of clock CpG methylation patterns consistent with a younger biological age.

One significant limitation of this pilot trial is limited statistical power due to relatively small sample size. It is not yet fully established whether interventions that slow any methylation clocks necessarily curtail risks of age-related disease.”

https://www.aging-us.com/article/202913/text “Potential reversal of epigenetic age using a diet and lifestyle intervention: a pilot randomized clinical trial”


Baffled as to why these researchers relied on 2013 research rather than at least Dr. Horvath’s improved 2018 skin and blood clock, a review of which noted:

“Although the skin-blood clock was derived from significantly less samples (~900) than Horvath’s clock (~8000 samples), it was found to more accurately predict chronological age, not only across fibroblasts and skin, but also across blood, buccal and saliva tissue. A potential factor driving this improved accuracy in blood could be related to the approximate 18-fold increase in genomic coverage afforded by using Illumina 450k/850k beadarrays.”

Which would you prefer? A 2013 flip phone, or a 2018 smartphone?