Special Issue "Epigenetics of Neurodevelopmental Disorders"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2018).
Interests: neurodevelopmental disorder; epigenome; environmental stress; epigenetic reversibility; preemptive medicine
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Epigenetics is a gene regulation mechanism that does not depend on genomic DNA sequences, but depends instead on chemical modification of genomic DNA and histone proteins around which DNA is wrapped. The failure of epigenetic mechanisms is known to cause congenital neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), which include genomic imprinting disorders (e.g., Prader-Willi and Angelman syndrome), X-chromosome inactivation disorders (e.g., ring X Turner syndrome), and epigenetic regulation-associated molecule disorders (e.g., Rett and Kleefstra syndromes). These indicate that the epigenetic system is essential for normal neurodevelopment.
It has recently reported that the number of children with NDDs has increased in several countries, such as the US, Korea, and Japan, in which environmental factors, rather than genetic factors, are thought to be involved in this increase. Since epigenetic modifications in DNA are more vulnerable to environmental stress, such as malnutrition, environmental chemicals, and mental stress, than DNA sequence, especially during the early period of life, one can speculate that current socio-environmental factors cause acquired NDDs via epigenetic alterations in the brain.
The epigenome has a reversible property since it is based on removable residues on genomic DNA. Thus, environmentally induced epigenomic alterations can be potentially restored. In fact, some medicines for psychiatric and epileptic diseases are known to restore an altered epigenome, resulting in the correction of gene expression. Therefore, epigenomic-based preemptive medicine that consists of early detection using epigenomic signatures and early intervention that take advantages of the use of epigenomic reversibility are expected.
In this context, I would like to invite review and original articles that focus on epigenetic understanding of brain function, brain development, and NDDs. Additionally, articles associated with epigenome–environmental factor interaction in the brain are desired in this Special Issue.
Dr. Takeo Kubota
Manuscript Submission Information
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- neurodevelopmental disorders
- genomic imprinting
- X-chromosome inactivation
- epigenomic signatures
- early intervention
- preemptive medicine
- epigenome–environmental factor interaction