Oxidative-stress-induced epigenetic changes in chronic diabetic complications

Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2013 Mar;91(3):213-20. doi: 10.1139/cjpp-2012-0251. Epub 2012 Dec 17.


Oxidative stress plays an important role in the development and progression of chronic diabetic complications. Diabetes causes mitochondrial superoxide overproduction in the endothelial cells of both large and small vessels. This increased superoxide production causes the activation of several signal pathways involved in the pathogenesis of chronic complications. In particular, endothelial cells are major targets of glucose-induced oxidative damage in the target organs. Oxidative stress activates cellular signaling pathways and transcription factors in endothelial cells including protein kinase C (PKC), c-Jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK), p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), forkhead box O (FOXO), and nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB). Oxidative stress also causes DNA damage and activates DNA nucleotide excision repair enzymes including the excision repair cross complimenting 1(ERCC1), ERCC4, and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). Augmented production of histone acetyltransferase p300, and alterations of histone deacetylases, including class III deacetylases sirtuins, are also involved in this process. Recent research has found that small noncoding RNAs, like microRNA, are a new kind of regulator associated with chronic diabetic complications. There are extensive and complicated interactions and among these molecules. The purpose of this review is to demonstrate the role of oxidative stress in the development of diabetic complications in relation to epigenetic changes such as acetylation and microRNA alterations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diabetes Complications / genetics*
  • Diabetes Complications / metabolism*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / physiology*
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • MicroRNAs