Submitted to: Butyrate: Food Sources, Functions and Health Benefits
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/20/2014
Publication Date: 4/1/2014
Citation: Li, C., Li, R.W., Baldwin, R.L., Elsasser, T.H. 2014. Butyrate: A dietary inhibitor of histone deacetylases and an epigenetic regulator. Butyrate: Food Sources, Functions and Health Benefits. New York, NY:Nova Science Publishers. p.233-258.
Interpretive Summary: Butyrate, a nutrient, plays an important role in cell growth, proliferation and energy metabolism. It also has many health benefits in human and animals. This chapter is concentrated on recent research advances related butyrate’s biological functions and related molecular mechanisms, and includes discoveries derived from USDA, ARS, Bovine Functional Genomics Laboratory are also reviewed.
Technical Abstract: The short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) acetate, propionate and butyrate, also known as volatile fatty acids (VFA), are produced in the gastrointestinal tract by microbial fermentation. Consumption of dietary fibers has been shown to have positive metabolic health effects, such as increasing satiety, and lowering blood glucose and cholesterol levels. At the cellular level, butyrate induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. These effects are associated with short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), particularly butyric acid. The mechanisms of action of butyrate are different and many of these involve an epigenomic regulation of gene expression through the inhibition of histone deacetylases (HDACs). Epigenomics is the study of both heritable and non-heritable changes in the regulation of gene activity and expression that occur without change in the DNA sequence. This dynamic and rapidly developing discipline is making its impact across biomedical science. Inhibition of HDACs results in hyperacetylation of histones, thereby modifying the chromatin and chromosomal (epigenomic) landscape. Chromatin modification has clearly emerged as a very important mechanism in regulating the transcriptional status of the genome. Butyrate-induced biological effects provide an example of epigenomic regulation and provide a basis for understanding the full range of the biological roles and molecular mechanisms that butyrate may play in cell growth, proliferation, and energy metabolism. This chapter is concentrated on recent research advances regarding the epigenetic effects of butyrate in essential biological activities. Discoveries from our own research endeavors in related areas are also reviewed.