Therapeutic Approaches to Histone Reprogramming in Retinal Degeneration

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016;854:39-44. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-17121-0_6.


Recent data have revealed epigenetic derangements and subsequent chromatin remodeling as a potent biologic switch for chronic inflammation and cell survival which are important therapeutic targets in the pathogenesis of several retinal degenerations. Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are a major component of this system and serve as a unique control of the chromatin remodeling process. With a multitude of targeted HDAC inhibitors now available, their use in both basic science and clinical studies has widened substantially. In the field of ocular biology, there are data to suggest that HDAC inhibition may suppress neovascularization and may be a possible treatment for retinitis pigmentosa and dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). However, the effects of these inhibitors on cell survival and chemokine expression in the chorioretinal tissues remain very unclear. Here, we review the multifaceted biology of HDAC activity and pharmacologic inhibition while offering further insight into the importance of this epigenetic pathway in retinal degenerations. Our laboratory investigations aim to open translational avenues to advance dry AMD therapeutics while exploring the role of acetylation on inflammatory gene expression in the aging and degenerating retina.

Keywords: Acetylome; Aging Electronic supplementary material; Apoptosis; Histone deacetylases; Inflammation; Lysine deacetylases; Retinal degeneration; Valproic acid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Histone Deacetylases / metabolism*
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / metabolism
  • Macular Degeneration / prevention & control
  • Retina / drug effects
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Retina / pathology
  • Retinal Degeneration / metabolism
  • Retinal Degeneration / prevention & control*
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelium / drug effects
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelium / metabolism
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelium / pathology


  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Histones
  • Histone Deacetylases