Author(s): Ballestar E, Esteller M, Richardson BC
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Abstract Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an archetypical systemic, autoimmune inflammatory disease characterized by the production of autoantibodies to multiple nuclear Ags. Apoptotic defects and impaired removal of apoptotic cells contribute to an overload of autoantigens that become available to initiate an autoimmune response. Besides the well-recognized genetic susceptibility to SLE, epigenetic factors are important in the onset of the disease, as even monozygotic twins are usually discordant for the disease. Changes in DNA methylation and histone modifications, the major epigenetic marks, are a hallmark in genes that undergo epigenetic deregulation in disease. In SLE, global and gene-specific DNA methylation changes have been demonstrated to occur. Moreover, histone deacetylase inhibitors reverse the skewed expression of multiple genes involved in SLE. In the present study, we discuss the implications of epigenetic alterations in the development and progression of SLE and how epigenetic drugs constitute a promising source of therapy to treat this disease.
This article was published in J Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology