The emerging role of epigenetics in cardiovascular disease
African Continental Ancestry Group
European Continental Ancestry Group
There is a worldwide epidemic of cardiovascular diseases causing not only a public health issue but also accounting for trillions of dollars of healthcare expenditure. Studies pertaining to epidemiology, pathophysiology, molecular biology, gene identification and genetic linkage maps have been able to lay a strong foundation for both the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular medicine. Although the concept of 'epigenetics' is not recent, the term in current usage is extended from the initial concept of 'controlling developmental gene expression and signaling pathways in undifferentiated zygotes' to include heritable changes to gene expression that are not from differences in the genetic code. The impact of epigenetics in cardiovascular disease is now emerging as an important regulatory key player at different levels from pathophysiology to therapeutics. This review focuses on the emerging role of epigenetics in major cardiovascular medicine specialties such as coronary artery disease, heart failure, cardiac hypertrophy and diabetes.