The Promise of Epigenetics. Has It Delivered New Insights?

Dig Dis. 2016;34(1-2):12-9. doi: 10.1159/000442919. Epub 2016 Mar 16.


Enrichment of GWAS signals within cell-specific enhancers defines cellular subsets most associated to IBD and highlights the critical role of epigenetics in IBD. We review the central role of the interleukin 23 (IL-23) pathway in cellular plasticity, mechanisms which are significantly mediated by epigenetic regulation of master transcription factors of various CD4+ T-cell subsets. Present studies need to be complemented by a deeper understanding of intestine-specific gene expression and epigenetics, especially in mononuclear phagocytes, given their enormous plasticity, and tissue-dependent function. A deeper understanding and application of epigenetics may impact and guide early treatment and ultimately, disease prevention in IBD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / genetics*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / immunology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genetic Therapy / trends
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / genetics*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / immunology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / therapy*
  • Interleukin-23 / genetics
  • Interleukin-23 / immunology


  • Interleukin-23