Epigenetics and pulmonary diseases in the horizon of precision medicine: a review – DocWire News

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Eur Respir J. 2020 Nov 19:2003406. doi: 10.1183/13993003.03406-2020. Online ahead of print.


Epigenetic mechanisms represent potential molecular routes which could bridge the gap between genetic background and environmental risk factors contributing to the pathogenesis of pulmonary diseases. In patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), there is emerging evidence of aberrant epigenetic marks, mainly including DNA methylation and histone modifications which directly mediate reversible modifications to the DNA without affecting the genomic sequence. Post-translational events and microRNAs can be also epigenetically regulated and potentially participate to disease pathogenesis. Thus, novel pathogenic mechanisms and putative biomarkers may be detectable in peripheral blood, sputum, nasal and buccal swabs, or lung tissue. Besides, DNA methylation plays an important role during the early phases of fetal development and may be impacted by environmental exposures, ultimately influencing an individuals susceptibility to COPD, asthma, and PAH later in life. With the advances in omics platforms and the application of computational biology tools, modelling the epigenetic variability in a network framework, rather than as single molecular defects, is providing insights into the possible molecular pathways underlying the pathogenesis of COPD, asthma, and PAH. Epigenetic modifications may have clinical applications as non-invasive biomarkers of pulmonary diseases. Moreover, combining molecular assays with network analysis of epigenomic data may aid in clarifying the multi-stage transition from a pre-disease to disease state, with the goal of improving primary prevention of lung diseases and its subsequent clinical management.We describe epigenetic mechanisms known to be associated with pulmonary diseases and discuss how network analysis could improve our understanding of lung diseases.

PMID:33214212 | DOI:10.1183/13993003.03406-2020

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Epigenetics and pulmonary diseases in the horizon of precision medicine: a review - DocWire News

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