Author(s): Picascia A, Grimaldi V, Pignalosa O, De Pascale MR, Schiano C,
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Abstract Genome-wide association studies have revealed several genes predisposing to autoimmunity, however, concordance rates in monozygotic twins are significantly below 50\% for several autoimmune diseases. The limited presence of a strong genetic association only in some patients supports that other non-genetic mechanisms are active in these pathologies. Epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation, histone modification, and microRNA signaling regulate gene expression and are sensitive to external stimuli and they might be as bridging between genetic and environmental factors. Some evidence has highlighted the involvement of epigenetic alterations in the pathogenesis of various autoimmune diseases giving rise to great expectations among clinicians and researchers. The direct role of these alterations in the initiation/progression of autoimmune diseases is still unclear. The knowledge in depth of these pathogenic and epigenetic mechanisms will increase the possibility of the control and/or prevention of autoimmune diseases through the use of drugs that target epigenetic pathways. Moreover, we could use epigenetic-related biomarkers to follow this complicated framework (for example H3K4me3 and miRNA-155 are among those proposed biomarkers). This article reviews current understanding of the epigenetic involvement in the field of autoimmune diseases especially in systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, sclerosis multiple and type 1 diabetes. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Clin Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Dermatitis