Our science is based on breakthrough research conducted at the Shiley Eye Institute at the University of California San Diego and exclusively licensed to Visgenx. The research identified a gene known as ELOVL2 which codes for a enzyme in the biosynthesis of long chain and very long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA & VLC-PUFA respectively). The LC and VLC PUFA regulated by ELOVL2 play critical roles in cell membrane structure, signal transduction, and as sources of energy. ELOVL2 gene expression is believed essential for normal cell function and survival in multiple tissues.
DNA methylation is an epigenetic process that broadly regulates gene expression. Genes that are rich in CpG nucleotides especially in the upstream promotor areas are most commonly regulated by methylation. The ELOVL2 gene promotor is rich in CpG nucleotides. Methylation of ELOVL2 results in down regulation of its expression
The methylation of certain genes is strongly correlated with aging. Methylation of ELOVL2 in particular has been shown to be age-related. In fact, methylation of specific regions in the ELOVL2 promotor are among the best genetic markers for aging. Since methylation of ELOVL results in down regulation of ELOVL2 gene expression, there is an aging related reduction in ELOVL2 expression and thus the biosynthesis of both long chain and very long chain fatty acids.
As a consequence of the age-related decline in ELOVL2 expression (and decrease in cellular ELOVL2 enzyme) there is a decrease in cellular levels of LC and VLC PUFA along with a build up of the precursor fatty acids. This contributes to multiple cellular pathologies including oxidative and bioenergetic stress contributing to accelerated aging
Recently published research suggests that the loss of ELOVL2 expression may underlie multiple disorders including:
- dry Macular Degeneration
-Dementia / Alzheimers