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endocrine-disrupting chemicals may lead to premature aging

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MedicalXpress has an article Premature epigenomic aging acts like a 'sleeper cell' that is awakened by Western-style diet

 

Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) during this process can cause widespread reprogramming of this [epigenome], and this reprogramming persists for the life of the individual.

"In this study, we found that even brief exposure to certain chemicals while the liver is developing prematurely aged the liver epigenome. Exposure to these EDCs caused the young liver to acquire an adult epigenomic signature"

"However, this premature aging of the epigenome did not have an effect on health until later in life and after exposure to a high-fat diet."

In a healthy liver, the epigenome goes through a normal aging process. In this study, after exposure to an EDC, the researchers saw that this process accelerated. So, a 6-day old rat had the same epigenome they would normally see in an adult rat.

"The effect of this change on metabolic function wasn't immediate; instead, it was like a ticking time bomb, which was only ignited when we switched the animals to a Western-style diet, high in fat, sugar and cholesterol"

Rats that were exposed early to EDC and later to a Western-style diet were found to be more susceptible to metabolic dysfunction than those that had the same EDC exposure, but were kept on a healthy diet. Those that remained on a healthy diet, despite the fact their epigenome had been reprogrammed, did not show the same changes in expression of genes that control metabolism, or accumulation of lipids in their serum, seen in rats on the high fat, sugar and cholesterol diet. 

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