Epigenomes (Dec 2020)

Methylomes in Vegans versus Pescatarians and Nonvegetarians

  • Valery Filippov,
  • Karen Jaceldo-Siegl,
  • Alexey Eroshkin,
  • Vasiliy Loskutov,
  • Xin Chen,
  • Charles Wang,
  • Penelope J. Duerksen-Hughes

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 4, no. 4
p. 28


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Epigenetic studies in animal models have demonstrated that diet affects gene regulation by altering methylation patterns. We interrogated methylomes in humans who have different sources of protein in their diet. We compared methylation of DNA isolated from buffy coat in 38 vegans, 41 pescatarians and 68 nonvegetarians. Methylation data were obtained using Infinium HumanMethylation450 arrays and analyzed using the Partek Genomic software. Differences in differentially methylated sites were small, though with the use of relaxed statistical tests we did identify diet-associated differences. To further test the validity of these observations, we performed separate and independent comparisons of the methylation differences between vegans and nonvegetarians, and between vegans and pescatarians. The detected differences were then examined to determine if they were enriched in specific pathways. Pathway analysis revealed enrichment of several specific processes, including homeobox transcription and glutamate transport. The detected differences in DNA methylation patterns between vegans, pescatarians, and nonvegetarians enabled us to identify 77 CpG sites that may be sensitive to diet and/or lifestyle, though high levels of individual-specific differences were also noted.