Phenotypic variation in skeletal traits and diseases is the product of genetic and environmental factors. Epigenetic mechanisms include information‐containing factors, other than DNA sequence, that cause stable changes in gene expression and are maintained during cell divisions. They represent a link between environmental influences, genome features, and the resulting phenotype. The main epigenetic factors are DNA methylation, posttranslational changes of histones, and higher‐order chromatin structure. Sometimes non‐coding RNAs, such as microRNAs (miRNAs) and long non‐coding RNAs (lncRNAs), are also included in the broad term of epigenetic factors. There is rapidly expanding experimental evidence for a role of epigenetic factors in the differentiation of bone cells and the pathogenesis of skeletal disorders, such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. However, different from genetic factors, epigenetic signatures are cell‐ and tissue‐specific and can change with time. Thus, elucidating their role has particular difficulties, especially in human studies. Nevertheless, epigenomewide association studies are beginning to disclose some disease‐specific patterns that help to understand skeletal cell biology and may lead to development of new epigenetic‐based biomarkers, as well as new drug targets useful for treating diffuse and localized disorders. Here we provide an overview and update of recent advances on the role of epigenomics in bone and cartilage diseases. © 2019 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1002/jbmr.3662, hdl.handle.net/1765/115256
Journal Journal of Bone and Mineral Research
Citation
van Meurs, J.B.J, Boer, C.G, Lopez-Delgado, L., & Riancho, J.A. (2019). Role of Epigenomics in Bone and Cartilage Disease. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 34(2), 215–230. doi:10.1002/jbmr.3662