Mutat Res 2010 Aug 25;690(1-2):71-80. Epub 2010 Feb 25.
Food, Metabolism & Microbiology Section, AgResearch Grasslands, Tennent Drive, Palmerston North 4474, New Zealand.
Epigenomic regulation, via DNA methylation, histone modification and non-coding RNA, is increasingly recognised as having a key role in normal development and function of an organism, acting to control cellular and tissue growth and differentiation. It is also thought to be involved in many complex diseases now common in the Western world, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). There is a range of evidence to suggest that nutrition plays a vital role in the protection from such diseases. However, there is little information about the role of nutrition on the epigenetic regulation of IBD. This review aims to elucidate the interactions of nutrients and the epigenome in IBD. More specifically, the plasticity of epigenetic modifications that occur due to low selenium and folate levels in the diet during gestation and lactation will be discussed. A better understanding of this plasticity, and of nutrient-epigenome interactions, will have important implications for enhancing human health through foods.