Emerging roles of epigenetic mechanisms in Parkinson’s disease
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Epigenetic mechanisms have emerged as important components of a variety of human diseases, including cancer and central nervous system disorders. Despite recent studies highlighting the role of epigenetic mechanisms in several neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders, to date, there has been a paucity of studies exploring the role of epigenetic factors in Parkinson’s disease (PD). PD is a progressive neurological disorder with characteristic motor and non-motor symptoms, including a range of neuropsychiatric features, for which neither preventative nor effective long-term treatment strategies are available. It is one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders and the second most prevalent after Alzheimer’s disease. In this review, we present several lines of evidence suggesting that epigenetic factors may play an important role in the pathogenesis of PD and propose on this basis a framework to guide future investigations into epigenetic mechanisms and systems biology of PD. These notions, together with technical advances in the ability to perform genome-wide analysis of epigenomic states, and newly available small-molecule probes targeting chromatin-modifying enzymes, may help design new treatment strategies for PD and other human diseases involving epigenetic dysregulation.