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Glycemic memory

El-Osta, Assam

doi: 10.1097/MOL.0b013e32834f319d
NUTRITION AND METABOLISM: Edited by Paul Nestel and Ronald P. Mensink

Purpose of review The mistake of predicting the future is perhaps not tending to repressed or past memories. Hamlet's 17th-Century soliloquy ‘the heartache and the thousand natural shocks, that flesh is heir to’, (3.1. 7–8) is a tale that looks beyond the present by linking the past with the future. The present article examines the resurgence in the field to understand gene-regulating epigenetic changes conferring glycemic memory.

Recent findings Chromatin modifications are critical in regulating genome structure and function and despite the significant advances of recent years in identifying the enzymes-mediating chemical changes to histone tails and the DNA template, the precise regulation of gene expression remains incomplete in models of health and diabetic complications.

Summary Dispelling the myth that all genomes are driven and respond equally, experimental research is now uncovering the function of enzymes conferring chromatin modifications. Whatever the role of the epigenome, showing its involvement in glycemic signaling is the first step to new strategies and targets to develop therapies that prevent, retard or reverse the long-term deleterious end-organ effects of chronic, intermittent and prior hyperglycemia.

aEpigenetics in Human Health and Disease Laboratory

bEpigenomic Profiling Facility, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, The Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct

cDepartment of Pathology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Melbourne

dFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Correspondence to Assam El-Osta, 75 Commercial Road, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia. Tel: +61 3 8532 1389; fax: +61 3 8532 1100; e-mail:

Copyright © 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.