Epigenetics of Skeletal Diseases
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AuthorDel Real Bolt, Álvaro; Riancho Zarrabeitia, Leyre; López Delgado, Laura; Riancho Moral, José Antonio
PURPOSE OF REVIEW:
Epigenetic mechanisms modify gene activity in a stable manner without altering DNA sequence. They participate in the adaptation to the environment, as well as in the pathogenesis of common complex disorders. We provide an overview of the role of epigenetic mechanisms in bone biology and pathology.
Extensive evidence supports the involvement of epigenetic mechanisms (DNA methylation, post-translational modifications of histone tails, and non-coding RNAs) in the differentiation of bone cells and mechanotransduction. A variety of epigenetic abnormalities have been described in patients with osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and skeletal cancers, but their actual pathogenetic roles are still unclear. A few drugs targeting epigenetic marks have been approved for neoplastic disorders, and many more are being actively investigated. Advances in the field of epigenetics underscore the complex interactions between genetic and environmental factors as determinants of osteoporosis and other common disorders. Likewise, they help to explain the mechanisms by which prenatal and post-natal external factors, from nutrition to psychological stress, impact our body and influence the risk of later disease.
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