Cadmium and its epigenetic effects

· TGI - Cancer
Authors

Cells transmit information to the next generation via two distinct ways: genetic and epigenetic.

Chemical modifications to DNA or histone that alters the structure of chromatin without change of DNA nucleotide sequence are known as epigenetics. These heritable epigenetic changes include DNA methylation, post-translational modifications of histone tails (acetylation, methylation, phosphorylation, etc), and higher order packaging of DNA around nucleosomes. Apart from DNA methyltransferases, histone modification enzymes such as histone acetyltransferase, histone deacetylase, and methyltransferase, and microRNAs (miRNAs) all involve in these epigenetic changes.

Epigenetic mechanisms

Epigenetic mechanisms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recent studies indicate that Cd is able to induce various epigenetic changes in plant and mammalian cells in vitro and in vivo. Since aberrant epigenetics plays a critical role in the development of various cancers and chronic diseases, Cd may cause the above-mentioned pathogenic risks via epigenetic mechanisms.

Here the authors review the in vitro and in vivo evidence of epigenetic effects of Cd. The available findings indicate that epigenetics occurred in association with Cd induction of malignant transformation of cells and pathological proliferation of tissues, suggesting that epigenetic effects may play a role in Cd toxic, particularly carcinogenic effects.

The study results were published in Curr Med Chem. 2012;19(16):2611-20.

Further details of the study can be found at:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22471978

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