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Department of Medicine (Biomedical Genetics), Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA , hamostafavi@yahoo.com
Abstract:   (883 Views)
Background and Aim: Many neurological and psychiatric disorders are not due to mutations in a specific gene; rather, they are attributed to dysregulation of genes’ functions and signals that control their expression. Complex 'epigenetic' mechanisms regulate various gene activities with long-lasting effects within mature neurons and other cells of brain tissue. In this review, we focus on the current understanding of epigenetic regulations in brain development and functions, as well as their implications in neuropsychiatric disorders.
Materials and Methods: This study reviewed related investigations up to 2021 ac by searching keywords including epigenetics, DNA methylation, microRNA, RNA editing as well as psychiatric disorders, schizophrenia, autism and bipolar disorder in PubMed database. Among collected articles, finally 108 research articles which were most relevant to the topic of this article were selected and reviewed. Editorials and articles in languages other than English were excluded.
Conclusion: Currently at least four epigenetic mechanisms are known that through altering DNA, RNA or histone codes regulate genes’ expression levels. Meanwhile these epigenetic mechanisms themselves are under the influence of internal and environmental factors and may be dysfunctional secondary to malnutrition, contaminants, toxins, drugs, substances, infections, etc. Many studies have shown that various epigenetic aberrations are involved in the expression of genes involved in psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, autism and bipolar disorder. A comprehensive investigation on epigenetic alterations and the environmental factors that mediate these alterations probably can help to improve preventive and therapeutic strategies in neuropsychiatric diseases.
Type of Study: Review | Subject: Genetic
Received: 2021/03/1 | Accepted: 2021/12/1

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