Epigenetics, asthma, and allergic diseases: a review of the latest advancements

Stephanie Lovinsky-Desir, Rachel L Miller
Current Allergy and Asthma Reports 2012, 12 (3): 211-20
Environmental epigenetic regulation in asthma and allergic disease is an exciting area that has gained a great deal of scientific momentum in recent years. Environmental exposures, including prenatal maternal smoking, have been associated with asthma-related outcomes that may be explained by epigenetic regulation. In addition, several known allergy and asthma genes have been found to be susceptible to epigenetic regulation. We review the latest experimental and translational studies that have been published this past year in several areas, including 1) characterization of environmental asthma triggers that induce epigenetic changes, 2) characterization of allergic immune and regulatory pathways important to asthma that undergo epigenetic regulation, 3) evidence of active epigenetic regulation in asthma experimental models and the production of asthma biomarkers, 4) evidence of transmission of an asthma-related phenotype across multiple generations, and 5) "pharmaco-epigenetics." The field has certainly advanced significantly in the past year.

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