In this review, we discuss the potential pharmacological targeting of a set of powerful epigenetic mechanisms: DNA methylation control systems in the central nervous system (CNS). Specifically, we focus on the possible use of these targets for novel future treatments for learning and memory disorders. We first describe several unique pharmacological attributes of epigenetic mechanisms, especially DNA cytosine methylation, as potential drug targets. We then present an overview of the existing literature regarding DNA methylation control pathways and enzymes in the nervous system, particularly as related to synaptic function, plasticity, learning and memory. Lastly, we speculate upon potential categories of CNS cognitive disorders that might be amenable to methylomic targeting.
Keywords: DNMT; Tet oxidase; cognitive disorders; cognitive enhancement; cytosine methylation; demethylation; epigenetics; learning; memory; neuropharmacology.