Update on epigenetics in allergic disease

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Abstract

Chronic inflammatory diseases, including allergies and asthma, are the result of complex gene-environment interactions. One of the most challenging questions in this regard relates to the biochemical mechanism of how exogenous environmental trigger factors modulate and modify gene expression, subsequently leading to the development of chronic inflammatory conditions. Epigenetics comprises the umbrella of biochemical reactions and mechanisms, such as DNA methylation and chromatin modifications on histones and other structures. Recently, several lifestyle and environmental factors have been investigated in terms of such biochemical interactions with the gene expression–regulating machinery: allergens; microbes and microbial compounds; dietary factors, including vitamin B12, folic acid, and fish oil; obesity; and stress. This article aims to update recent developments in this context with an emphasis on allergy and asthma research.

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