DNA methylation is a covalent chromatin modification, characterized by the biochemical addition of a methyl group (-CH3) to cytosine nucleotides via a DNA methyltransferase enzyme. 5'-Methylcytosine (5-mC), frequently called the fifth base, has been implicated in genome stability, silencing of transposable elements, and repression of gene expression. Through the latter, DNA methylation dynamics broadly influence brain development, function, and aging. Aberrant DNA methylation patterns, either localized to specific gene regions or scattered throughout the genome, are associated with many neurologic disorders. Herein, we discuss the emerging role of DNA methylation in epileptogenesis and the perspectives arising from epigenetic medicine as new therapeutic strategy in difficult-to-treat epilepsies.
Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2012 International League Against Epilepsy.