DNA methylation of cytosine residues is a well-studied epigenetic change, which regulates gene transcription by altering accessibility for transcription factors. Hypoxia is a pervasive stimulus that affects many physiological processes. The circulatory and respiratory systems adapt to chronic sustained hypoxia, such as that encountered during a high-altitude sojourn. Many people living at sea level experience chronic intermittent hypoxia (IH) due to sleep apnea, which leads to cardiovascular and respiratory maladaptation. This article presents a brief update on emerging evidence suggesting that changes in DNA methylation contribute to pathologies caused by chronic IH and potentially mediate adaptations to chronic sustained hypoxia by affecting the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) signaling pathway.
Keywords: DNA methyl transferases; antioxidant enzyme; blood pressure; carotid body reflex; redox state.
Copyright © 2017 the American Physiological Society.