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Epigenetics in the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease: influence of exercise and nutrition.
Increasing evidence links changes in epigenetic systems, such as DNA methylation, histone modification, and non-coding RNA expression, to the occurrence of cardiovascular disease (CVD). These epigenetic modifications can change genetic function under influence of exogenous stimuli and can be transferred to next generations, providing a potential mechanism for inheritance of behavioural intervention effects. The benefits of exercise and nutritional interventions in the primary and secondary prevention of CVD are well established, but the mechanisms are not completely understood. In this review, we describe the acute and chronic epigenetic effects of physical activity and dietary changes. We propose exercise and nutrition as potential triggers of epigenetic signals, promoting the reshaping of transcriptional programmes with effects on CVD phenotypes. Finally, we highlight recent developments in epigenetic therapeutics with implications for primary and secondary CVD prevention.
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