DNA + Environment + Triggers + Change = war & peace within your cells. You can win the DNA triggered inflammation by modifying expression of inflammation genes.

When inflammation strikes, our body responds in a way parallel to the mechanism of civil war. Just as long & drawn out civil war creates havoc & destroys entire countries, inflammation has the power to destroy our body slowly piece by piece. Chronic inflammation has been the reason for many lifestyle & chronic diseases such as cancer, metabolic disorder, cardiovascular disease & cognitive decline. Besides, it can predispose us to depression & anxiety. You should pay attention or else you will not be able to tackle & control a full stage war on all cells of your body. This blog is going to discuss the impact of inflammation on our cognitive functions.

When there is damage elsewhere in our body or in our brain, an army of soldiers (glial cells) fight infection & clear our cellular debris and sweeps the affected environment from toxic substances. They are able to swing to action by upregulating themselves by increasing the consumption of sugar and ketones to feed the mitochondria, thereby resulting in increased energy production to power their clean up action. So who is providing these cells (army soldiers) with food supply to generate that extra energy. In our body, several cells (100-200 million neurons) inside our brain are responsible for cognition, mood regulation & controlling our behaviours are depleted to keep these glial cells from fighting with toxic substances. Often war is short & these glial cells are well trained to fight & fend off these toxic substances. However when this inflammation/war is long enough, it leads to others cells being depleted of energy. These cells are hungry & unprotected. Suddenly, the threat is to the entire body & every other cell. Chronic inflammation can impact our cognitive ability, gut health , sleep & much more. Therefore it is important to understand how we are predisposed to brain inflammation which is reflected in our genetic code & genetic composition.

Let us talk in detail about single gene that impacts your body’s immune system & inflammatory response -TNFRSF9 gene

TNFSF9 gene codes for receptor protein “TNFSF9” which is expressed in various types of cells that make up our immune system. This receptor puts your immune system on alert when your body detects a problem such as viral infection, DNA damage or presence of tumor cells.

This in turn causes a number of immune system cells to travel to affected or damaged areas resulting in inflammation. TNFSF9 receptors activate a number of inflammation related mechanisms & stimulate pro-inflammatory compounds called cytokines, also known as interleukin-6(IL-6).

(Brief about IL-6 gene: It helps stimulate immune responses in your body & is primary determinant of protein that acts as a marker of inflammation & tissue damage. IL6 seems to play a role of both reducing inflammation & stimulating it as well. But one polymorphism in particular—C174C—gives rise to inflammation-related diseases, including arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and fatigue. If you have a risk allele on this gene, you might want to mitigate its effects and work to shift that risk through lifestyle factors. For instance, there are a number of dietary changes you might make to reduce inflammation, including introducing a regimen of curcumin—a substance found in turmeric—or switching to a Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to reduce inflammation as well. Probiotics may also provide a useful role.).

The TNFSF9 gene plays an important role in triggering inflammation throughout the entire body. However the question arises how this gene is related to brain function. TNFSF9 receptors are highly expressed by brain cells such as neurons & astrocytes. These hold a special relevance when we talk of regulating immune system activity in the brain & determine the variability of your brain to chronic inflammation, which in turn can have direct impact on your cognitive ability.

A specific SNP of TNFSF9 is associated with chronic inflammation. Two possible variants of this SNP are C (major) & T (minor). When it comes to cognitive function, it is best to have CC genotype. This SNP has been associated with level of fluid intelligence which is one of the main factors that determine your IQ. Tests of fluid intelligence evaluate a variety of cognitive functions such as logical reasoning, problem solving, processing speed & working memory. People with more common CC genotype show enhanced performance on tests of fluid intelligence. On the other hand, carriers of the T variant show cases of poorer performance.
Given that this gene clearly plays a major role in stimulating the inflammatory response, it is likely that risk-associated alleles for this SNP cause increased activity of the TNFSF9 gene, thereby leading to brain inflammation.

Author's Bio: 

Passion for Fitness is a global fitness company that offers genomics based online fitness coaching solution for folks who do not have time to take care of their health. They offer a curated nutrition & workout plan based on genetic code of their customers & help them adopt a healthy lifestyle to aid with their fitness goals. They are serving customers from across the globe.