An Overview of Medical Epigenetics

Chapter

Abstract

  • The primary mechanisms of epigenetics consisting of DNA methylation, histone modifications, and noncoding RNA have a major impact on medical processes ranging from epidemiological aspects of medicine to medical therapy. It is now apparent that many medical disorders have a component of epigenetics that contributes to their pathology and epigenetic mechanisms can influence many different aspects of medical management such as diagnosis, disease progression, and prognosis of medical disorders. The pulmonary, immune, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, endocrine, and reproductive systems as well as many others can be affected by epigenetic aberrations that lead to disease manifestations. Multisystem disorders such as those relevant to pediatrics, infections, and metastasis as well as numerous others are also very important with respect to the expression of epigenetic diseases. Perhaps most exciting has been the development of epigenetic approaches to medical therapy, and this once very small field has now expanded to new DNA methylation, histone deacetylase, and histone acetylase inhibitors as well as development of epigenetic-based RNA molecules for therapy. These approaches are being developed for applications such as combinatorial therapy, the management of pain, personalized medicine, and may have future roles in stem cell as well as regenerative medicine. The field of clinical epigenetics has significantly expanded within a relatively short period of time, which is most likely due to the importance that this discipline has to healthcare in general.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13

  • 9780128032398
  • Start Page

  • 3
  • End Page

  • 7