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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 1670815, 7 pages
Review Article

DNA Methylation and the Potential Role of Methyl-Containing Nutrients in Cardiovascular Diseases

1Key Laboratory of Agro-Ecological Processes in Subtropical Region, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Engineering Laboratory for Pollution Control and Waste Utilization in Livestock and Poultry Production, Hunan Provincial Engineering Research Center of Healthy Livestock, Hunan Co-Innovation Center of Animal Production Safety, Hunan 410125, China
2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3State Key Laboratory of Microbial Resources, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
4College of Packaging and Printing Engineering, Tianjin University of Science and Technology, Tianjin 300222, China
5Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, MSC08 4670, Fitz 258, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA
6Animal Nutrition and Human Health Laboratory, School of Life Sciences, Hunan Normal University, Changsha, Hunan 410081, China
7College of Animal Science, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Wenkai Ren and Jun Liang

Received 27 March 2017; Accepted 31 October 2017; Published 16 November 2017

Academic Editor: Giuseppe Cirillo

Copyright © 2017 Gang Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) experience a low quality of life and increase pressure on healthcare systems both nationally and globally. DNA methylation, which refers to the pathway by which DNA methyltransferase facilitates the addition of a methyl group to DNA, is of critical importance in this respect primarily because the epigenetic modification is implicated in a range of serious conditions including atherosclerosis, CVDs, and cancer. Research findings indicate that the number of epigenetic alterations can be elicited (both in utero and in adults) through the administration of certain nutritional supplements, including folic acid and methionine; this is partly attributable to the effect employed by methyl-containing nutrients in DNA methylation. Thus, for the purpose of illuminating viable therapeutic measures and preventive strategies for CVDs, research should continue to explore the intricate associations that exist between epigenetic regulation and CVD pathogenesis. This review centers on an exposition of the mechanism by which DNA methylation takes place, the impact it has on a range of conditions, and the potential clinical value of nutrition, driven mainly by the observation that nutritional supplements such as folic acid can affect DNA methylation.