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Epigenomes 2017, 1(1), 5; doi:10.3390/epigenomes1010005

Driver or Passenger: Epigenomes in Alzheimer’s Disease

Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Translational Psychiatry, Munich 80805, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Muller Fabbri
Received: 17 March 2017 / Revised: 26 April 2017 / Accepted: 26 April 2017 / Published: 30 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics of the Nervous System)
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Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease which is on the rise worldwide. Despite a wealth of information, genetic factors contributing to the emergence of AD still remain incompletely understood. Sporadic AD is polygenetic in nature and is associated with various environmental risks. Epigenetic mechanisms are well-recognized in the mediation of gene environment interactions, and analysis of epigenetic changes at the genome scale can offer new insights into the relationship between brain epigenomes and AD. In fact, recent epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) indicate that changes in DNA methylation are an early event preceding clinical manifestation and are tightly associated with AD neuropathology. Further, candidate genes from EWAS interact with those from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that can undergo epigenetic changes in their upstream gene regulatory elements. Functionally, AD-associated DNA methylation changes partially influence transcription of candidate genes involved in pathways relevant to AD. The timing of epigenomic changes in AD together with the genes affected indicate a critical role, however, further mechanistic insight is required to corroborate this hypothesis. In this respect, recent advances in neuronal reprogramming of patient-derived cells combined with new genome-editing techniques offer unprecedented opportunities to dissect the functional and mechanistic role of epigenomic changes in AD. View Full-Text
Keywords: Alzheimer disease epigenomes; DNA methylation; DNA memory; epigenome-wide association studies; genome-wide association studies; induced pluripotent stem cells; genome editing Alzheimer disease epigenomes; DNA methylation; DNA memory; epigenome-wide association studies; genome-wide association studies; induced pluripotent stem cells; genome editing

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Hoffmann, A.; Sportelli, V.; Ziller, M.; Spengler, D. Driver or Passenger: Epigenomes in Alzheimer’s Disease. Epigenomes 2017, 1, 5.

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