Memory Of Heart Attack Can Be Stored In Human Genes Through Epigenetic Changes

First Posted: Sep 24, 2016 04:58 AM EDT

The researchers from Uppsala University discovered that the memory of a heart attack can be stored in the human genes through epigenetic changes. In the study, the team investigated the epigenetic changes in people who experienced a heart attack in their lives.

The study was printed in the journal Human Molecular Genetics. Asa Johansson, a researcher at the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology and the lead author of the study explained that during a heart attack the body signals by activating particular genes. She further explained that this mechanism protects the tissue during the acute phase of the disease and repairs the body after the heart attack. She added that it is, therefore, likely that it also occurs epigenetic changes linked a heart attack.

Epigenetics examines the genetic effects which are not encoded in the DNA sequence of an organism. These genetic effects could result from external or environmental factors that switch genes on and off. This affects how the cells express genes. The epigenetic also refer to the changes themselves, which are changes to the genome that do not include a change in the nucleotide sequence.

The genes that are inherited from parents at birth have chemical modifications of DNA that turn on or off the genes during a lifetime. This is where the epigenetic changes happen, which could lead to having chances of acquiring various diseases.

The findings of the recent study indicated that there were many epigenetic changes in people who had suffered a heart attack. Many of these epigenetic changes are in genes that are associated with cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, it is not known whether the differences had contributed to the development of the disease or live as a memory of gene activation linked with the heart attack, according to Science Daily.

 The study could contribute to the knowledge of the significance of epigenetic in association to a heart attack. This could also be a way for the development of better drugs and treatments.

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