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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 737168, 10 pages
Review Article

Computational Modelling Approaches on Epigenetic Factors in Neurodegenerative and Autoimmune Diseases and Their Mechanistic Analysis

1Department of Bioinformatics, Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing, 53754 Sankt Augustin, Germany
2Bonn-Aachen International Center for IT, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Dahlmannstrasse 2, 53113 Bonn, Germany

Received 31 July 2015; Revised 19 October 2015; Accepted 20 October 2015

Academic Editor: Francesco Pappalardo

Copyright © 2015 Afroza Khanam Irin et al. 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.


Neurodegenerative as well as autoimmune diseases have unclear aetiologies, but an increasing number of evidences report for a combination of genetic and epigenetic alterations that predispose for the development of disease. This review examines the major milestones in epigenetics research in the context of diseases and various computational approaches developed in the last decades to unravel new epigenetic modifications. However, there are limited studies that systematically link genetic and epigenetic alterations of DNA to the aetiology of diseases. In this work, we demonstrate how disease-related epigenetic knowledge can be systematically captured and integrated with heterogeneous information into a functional context using Biological Expression Language (BEL). This novel methodology, based on BEL, enables us to integrate epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation or acetylation of histones into a specific disease network. As an example, we depict the integration of epigenetic and genetic factors in a functional context specific to Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).