Ayse Leyla Mindikoglu, M.D., M.P.H.; Weiwei Dang, PhD; Sung Yun Jung, PhD | Baylor College of Medicine;
Competition Sponsor: US National Academy of Medicine
Awardee Year: 2023
DNA double-strand breaks and DNA methylation pattern changes (epigenetic change) are strongly associated with aging. Our previous studies showed that fasting from dawn to dusk without eating or drinking (dawn-to-dusk dry fasting) upregulated proteins associated with extreme longevity, increased autophagy, tumor suppression, and DNA repair, and reduced several oxidative stress and inflammatory biomarkers. Dawn-to-dusk dry fasting with meals immediately before and after fasting for several consecutive days likely acts as a robust zeitgeber to peripheral clocks, aligns the phase of peripheral clocks with the phase of the central clock entrained to dawn and dusk, increases mRNA amplitude, and improves downstream protein synthesis for multiple metabolic pathways. In this project, we will evaluate the changes in key regulator proteins and DNA methylation patterns in subjects who fasted from dawn to dusk for four weeks. This proof-of-concept study will be conducted by a unique team of experts in state-of-the-art facilities and provide a mechanistic understanding of the effects of dawn-to-dusk dry fasting on human DNA repair proteins and DNA methylation patterns. The results of this study will provide a valuable guide to the design of future larger-scale clinical studies on the health and longevity effects of the dawn-to-dusk.