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Epigenetics, Aging, and Neurodegeneration

Roy Lardenoije, Daniël van den Hove, and Bart Rutten Epigenetics is a booming, but highly complex and rapidly evolving field. Apart from the well-studied regulatory mechanisms involving DNA and histone modifications, and non-coding RNAs, there are the more recent additions of RNA methylation and editing, and reports of epigenetic regulation …

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Epigenetic Basis of Substance Abuse

Substance abuse disorders are psychiatric disorders illnesses that impact patients severely in several biopsychosocial spheres. The criteria for the diagnosis of amphetamine and methamphetamine use disorders  include compulsive abuse of these substances despite adverse medicolegal consequences. Research on the basic neurobiology of these human disorders has focused on the use …

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The epigenome mapped in more than 100 tissues and cell types

A consortium of researchers published a description of 111 epigenetic maps produced as part of the Roadmap Epigenomics Program. A useful tool for understanding epigenetic changes associated with several conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancers or autoimmune disorders. In the body, most of the cells have identical genomes. But the …

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Histone Cleavage Can Interfere with the Measurement of Downstream Modifications

Histone modifications are increasingly being used as biomarkers in molecular epidemiology studies. However, a recent report from researchers at Columbia University describes a distinct histone H3 cleavage product, identified by Western blot, in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), which interferes with the measurement of certain histone modifications (Howe and …

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Mitochondrial epigenetics: Effects beyond the nuclear genome

  From playing a role in heritable changes to somatic mutations, including associations with diet, exercise, and other lifestyle interventions, epigenetics is progressively becoming implicated in a wide variety of activities and diseases. While the role of epigenetics has been predominately thought of in terms of genomic DNA, a clear …

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The Epigenetics of Stroke

Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States, taking 130,000 lives each year as well as incurring $36.5 billion combined costs of medical expenses and lost productivity. Advanced age is a risk factor for stroke. 66% of patients hospitalized due to stroke are over 65 years …

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Dopamine signaling leads to loss of polycomb repression and aberrant gene activation in experimental parkinsonism

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most frequent neurodegenerative disease, affecting 1-2% of the population over 55 years of age. The main pathological feature of PD is the progressive death of neurons located in the midbrain that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine.  These neurons modulate the activity of a collection of …

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Artificial Transcription Factors – A new class of epigenetic drug

Aberrant epigenetic status resulting in dysregulation of gene expression is a hallmark of many cancers and other diseases. In the last decade, countless time and energy has been spent in efforts to develop drugs targeting DNA methylation and histone modifications. To date however, none of these epigenetic drugs are sequence …

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