Pilot study on epigenetic response to a mind-body treatment
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In the last years, epigenetics and functional genomics methods to evaluate the genomic effects and mechanisms of mind-body therapies have increasingly grown. DNA microarray technology has been used to show the involvement of the stress response pathways both in the case of disease and stress and as an effect of mind-body therapies. In the present research, the DNA samples obtained from 20 individuals who experienced a mind-body therapeutic protocol (MBT-T), were analysed from the bio-molecular point of view by means of an epigenetic marker (MSAP molecular tool), in order to estimate the different status of methylation. The subjects were compared at 3 different times: prior to, 1 hour after, and 24 hours after the treatment. The molecular data were processed through different biostatistics approaches: the Bayesian statistics approach, in order to estimate the clustering membership of the subjects (Structure), and the statistical estimation of the DNA methylation level (MSAP statistical tool). The structure analysis revealed that the clusters and their membership changed among the three time points moving from higher heterogeneous distribution to higher homogeneous clusters. Before the treatment, the subjects’ epigenetic profiles were heterogeneous; after the mind-body treatment we found that epigenetic profiles converged to homogeneous DNA methylation status. DNA epigenetic status of the subjects was affected by the MBT-T treatment.