Epigenetics in the Vascular Endothelium
Looking From a Different Perspective in the Epigenomics Era
Cardiovascular diseases are commonly thought to be complex, non-Mendelian diseases that are influenced by genetic and environmental factors. A growing body of evidence suggests that epigenetic pathways play a key role in vascular biology and might be involved in defining and transducing cardiovascular disease inheritability. In this review, we argue the importance of epigenetics in vascular biology, especially from the perspective of endothelial cell phenotype. We highlight and discuss the role of epigenetic modifications across the transcriptional unit of protein-coding genes, especially the role of intragenic chromatin modifications, which are underappreciated and not well characterized in the current era of genome-wide studies. Importantly, we describe the practical application of epigenetics in cardiovascular disease therapeutics.
- Received June 13, 2015.
- Accepted September 14, 2015.
- © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.