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Western Diet Blocks Gut Microbiome Programing of the Host Epigenome

13 December 2016: Krautkramer et al. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison demonstrate in this study that the gut microbiome regulates global histone acetylation and methylation not only in the colon, but also in tissues outside the gut (i.e. liver and fat). Moreover, consumption of a ‘‘Western-type’’ diet prevents many of the microbiota-dependent chromatin changes that occur in a polysaccharide-rich diet by limiting the formation of microbial short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). These findings suggest the intriguing possibility that gut microbiome-mediated alterations in the host epigenome may be mechanistically involved in the genesis of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disorders, and cancer. Waterland and Jirtle previously showed in the agouti mouse that the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) is mediated by changes in the epigenome. Thus, it is also possible that maternal microbiome-mediated epigenetic modifications in the offspring during pregnancy may influence their adult disease susceptibility. This interesting postulate needs to be investigated. It's time to do another agouti mouse experiment!