Dyslipidemia is a well-established risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the main cause of death worldwide. Blood lipid profiles are patterned by both genetic and environmental factors. In recent years, epigenetics has emerged as a paradigm that unifies these influences. In this review, we have summarized the latest evidence implicating epigenetic mechanisms—DNA methylation, histone modification, and regulation by RNAs—in lipid homeostasis. Key findings have emerged in a number of novel epigenetic loci located in biologically plausible genes (eg, CPT1A, ABCG1, SREBF1, and others), as well as microRNA-33a/b. Evidence from animal and cell culture models suggests a complex interplay between different classes of epigenetic processes in the lipid-related genomic regions. Although epigenetic findings hold the potential to explain the interindividual variability in lipid profiles as well as the underlying mechanisms, they have yet to be translated into effective therapies for dyslipidemia.
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S.S-B. was funded by a contract from Instituto de Salud Carlos III FEDER [IFI14/00007] and a grant from Fundació Privada Daniel Bravo Andreu. Drs. Irvin, Arnett, and Aslibekyan are funded by a National Institutes of Health grant R01HL104135.
Sayols-Baixeras, Sergi; Irvin, Marguerite R.; Arnett, Donna K.; Elosua, Roberto; and Aslibekyan, Stella W., "Epigenetics of Lipid Phenotypes" (2016). Epidemiology Faculty Publications. 42.