Epigenetics: Concepts and relevance to IBD pathogenesis

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The purpose of this review is to introduce the exciting field of epigenetics and to describe how it could explain the mechanisms by which environmental changes induce pathological gene expression and determine cell phenotype and function in IBD. We outline how epigenetics research in the context of a variety of clinical conditions, but mainly in cancer, has begun to define the role of multiple combinations of modifications to chromatin, diverse families of enzymes, and non-coding RNAs in determining transcriptional outcomes. These findings are applicable to understanding the context-specific events that underlie the expression of genes in diseases like IBD and have the potential to reveal new targets for improved IBD therapy. The current status of epigenetics-based therapies is also summarized. (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2012)

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