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Effects of Environmental Cues on the Epigenome and Longevity (Paul Shiels)

Episode 96

March 23, 2023

In this episode of the Epigenetics Podcast, we caught up with Paul Shiels from the University of Glasgow to talk about his work on the effects of environmental cues on the epigenome and longevity.

Paul Shiels and his team focus on the question on how age related health is influenced by the environment. Factors like the socio-economic position, nutrition, lifestyle and the environment can influence the microbiome and the inflammation burden on the body which in turn can alter individual trajectories of ageing and health. The lab also tries to understand the epigenetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms that link the exposome to chronic age related diseases of older people. They have shown that (1) imbalanced nutrition is associated with a microbiota-mediated accelerated ageing in the general population, (2) a significantly higher abundance of circulatory pathogenic bacteria is found in the most biologically aged, while those less biologically aged possess more circulatory salutogenic bacteria with a capacity to metabolise and produce cytoprotective Nrf2 agonists, (3) those at lower socioeconomic position possess significantly lower betaine levels indicative of a poorer diet and poorer health span and consistent with reduced global DNA methylation levels in this group.

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