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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 723-729

Epigenetics and autoimmunity

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Haematology and BMT Faculty of Medicine, Menoufia University, Menoufia, Egypt
2 Department of Internal Medicine, Zefta Hospital, Zefta, Gharbia, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Salah M.S Abozied
Ajizy, Tanta, Gharbiya
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1110-2098.248748

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Objectives The aim of the study was to review epigenetics and its role in the evolution and treatment of autoimmune disorders. Data sources Data were obtained from Medline databases (PubMed, Medscape, and Science Direct) and from materials available on the Internet from 2003 to 2016. Study selection The initial search presented 100 articles, of which 30 met the inclusion criteria. The articles studied the role of epigenetics in the pathogenesis and treatment of autoimmune disorders. Data extraction A special search was carried out on Medline with keywords (epigenetics and autoimmune) in the papers, and extraction was made, including assessment of the quality and validity of papers that met with the prior criteria that describe the role of epigenetics in autoimmunity. Data synthesis Each study was reviewed independently; the obtained data were translated into the language of the researcher and have been presented in sections throughout the article. Findings The studies define epigenetics as changes in gene expression without changes in the DNA itself. Epigenetic regulation was achieved through DNA methylation, histone modification, and microRNA interference. Deregulations in epigenetic mechanisms present an important pathway toward the development of autoimmune disorders. DNA-demethylating and histone-deacetylating agents are the first era of drugs directed at treating epigenetic deregulations with significant success rates. Conclusion Unlike genetics, the reversible nature of epigenetics makes them highly attractive targets for cancer therapies. DNA-demethylating and histone-deacetylating agents are the first drugs directed at treating epigenetic deregulations. Understanding epigenetic mechanisms will be helpful in introducing new lines of treatment.

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