Epigenetics: a new mechanism of regulation of heart failure?

Basic Res Cardiol. 2013 Jul;108(4):361. doi: 10.1007/s00395-013-0361-1. Epub 2013 Jun 6.


Heart failure is a syndrome resulting from a complex genetic predisposition and multiple environmental factors, and is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. It is frequently accompanied by changes in heart mass, size, and shape, a process known as pathological cardiac remodeling. At the molecular level, these changes are preceded and accompanied by a specific gene expression program characterized by expression of certain 'fetal' genes. This re-expression of fetal genes in the adult heart contributes to the development of the syndrome. Therefore, counteracting the gene expression changes occurring in heart failure could be a therapeutic approach for this pathology. One mechanism of gene expression regulation that has gained importance is epigenetics. This review gives an overview of the roles of some epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation, histone modifications, ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling, and microRNA-dependent mechanisms, in heart failure.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly / genetics
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly / physiology
  • DNA Methylation / genetics
  • DNA Methylation / physiology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epigenomics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Heart Failure / genetics*
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology*
  • Histones / genetics
  • Histones / physiology
  • Humans


  • Histones