Ciência & Saúde Coletiva
versión impresa ISSN 1413-8123
EDWARDS, Thea M. y MYERS, John Peterson. Environmental exposures and gene regulation in disease etiology. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2008, vol.13, n.1, pp. 269-281. ISSN 1413-8123. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232008000100030.
Health or disease is shaped for all individuals by interactions between their genes and environment. Exactly how the environment changes gene expression and how this can lead to disease are being explored in a fruitful new approach to environmental health research, representative studies of which are reviewed here. We searched Web of Science and references of relevant publications to understand the diversity of gene regulatory mechanisms affected by environmental exposures with disease implications. Pharmaceuticals, pesticides, air pollutants, industrial chemicals, heavy metals, hormones, nutrition, and behavior can change gene expression through a broad array of gene regulatory mechanisms. Furthermore, chemically induced changes in gene regulation are associated with serious and complex human diseases, including cancer, diabetes and obesity, infertility, respiratory diseases, allergies, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson and Alzheimer diseases. The reviewed studies indicate that genetic predisposition for disease is best predicted in the context of environmental exposures. And the genetic mechanisms investigated in these studies offer new avenues for risk assessment research. Finally, we are likely to witness dramatic improvements in human health, and reductions in medical costs, if environmental pollution is decreased.
Palabras llave : DNA methylation; Drug resistance; Endocrine disruption; Gene expression; Gene regulation.