Asthma Epigenetics: Emergence of a New Paradigm?

  • Rachel L. MillerEmail author


Asthma is a disease that is influenced by environmental exposures, including those that occur prenatally. Recently, epigenetic regulation has been posited as an explanation for how environmental toxicants may induce asthma-related immune responses. However, our knowledge of the epigenetic regulation of asthma lags substantially behind our understanding of the epigenetic regulation of other complex diseases such as cancer. Fortunately new data are beginning to emerge. These include translational data from molecular experiments that implicate epigenetic regulation in T helper differentiation and/or the development of T regulatory cells, important in allergic immune responses. They also include a growing collection of cohort studies that associate epigenetic regulation with several components of the asthma clinical phenotype. So far these clinical studies are small, often unconfirmed, and only have started to address key issues relating to tissue specificity. Nonetheless, these studies provide a preview of what future research may reveal and raise the possibility that previously held paradigms for asthma pathogenesis may, and perhaps should, be changing.


Folic Acid Epigenetic Regulation Folic Acid Supplementation HDAC Activity LINE1 Methylation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Acyl-CoA synthetase long-chain family member 3




Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health


Confidence interval

CpG nucleotides

C–phosphate–G nucleotides


Glucocorticoid receptors


Glutathione S-transferase mu 1


Histone deacetylases


Histone acetyltransferases




Inducible nitric oxide synthases


Insulin-like growth factor






Long interspersed nucleotide elements


Membrane-spanning 4-domains, subfamily A, member 2 gene




Myeloid differentiation primary response gene (88)


Nuclear factor kappa B


Odds ratio


Particulate matter


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


Relative risk


Runt-related transcription factor 3


T helper


Toll like receptor


T regulatory


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care MedicineColumbia University College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew YorkUSA

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