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Comparative and Functional Genomics
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 256892, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/256892
Review Article

Epigenetic Alterations in Muscular Disorders

CNR Institute of Cellular Biology and Neurobiology, IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation, Via Del Fosso di Fiorano 64, 00143 Rome, Italy

Received 2 February 2012; Revised 11 April 2012; Accepted 19 April 2012

Academic Editor: Daniela Palacios

Copyright © 2012 Chiara Lanzuolo. 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.

Abstract

Epigenetic mechanisms, acting via chromatin organization, fix in time and space different transcriptional programs and contribute to the quality, stability, and heritability of cell-specific transcription programs. In the last years, great advances have been made in our understanding of mechanisms by which this occurs in normal subjects. However, only a small part of the complete picture has been revealed. Abnormal gene expression patterns are often implicated in the development of different diseases, and thus epigenetic studies from patients promise to fill an important lack of knowledge, deciphering aberrant molecular mechanisms at the basis of pathogenesis and diseases progression. The identification of epigenetic modifications that could be used as targets for therapeutic interventions could be particularly timely in the light of pharmacologically reversion of pathological perturbations, avoiding changes in DNA sequences. Here I discuss the available information on epigenetic mechanisms that, altered in neuromuscular disorders, could contribute to the progression of the disease.