Epigenetics, microRNA and Metabolic Syndrome: A Comprehensive Review

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 May 10;22(9):5047. doi: 10.3390/ijms22095047.


Epigenetics refers to the DNA chemistry changes that result in the modification of gene transcription and translation independently of the underlying DNA coding sequence. Epigenetic modifications are reported to involve various molecular mechanisms, including classical epigenetic changes affecting DNA methylation and histone modifications and small RNA-mediated processes, particularly that of microRNAs. Epigenetic changes are reversible and are closely interconnected. They are recognised to play a critical role as mediators of gene regulation, and any alteration in these mechanisms has been identified to mediate various pathophysiological conditions. Moreover, genetic predisposition and environmental factors, including dietary alterations, lifestyle or metabolic status, are identified to interact with the human epigenome, highlighting the importance of epigenetic factors as underlying processes in the aetiology of various diseases such as MetS. This review will reflect on how both the classical and microRNA-regulated epigenetic changes are associated with the pathophysiology of metabolic syndrome. We will then focus on the various aspects of epigenetic-based strategies used to modify MetS outcomes, including epigenetic diet, epigenetic drugs, epigenome editing tools and miRNA-based therapies.

Keywords: DNA methylation; epigenetic diet; histone modification; microRNAs; prediabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA Methylation
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Histone Code / genetics*
  • Histones / genetics
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / genetics*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / pathology
  • MicroRNAs / genetics


  • Histones
  • MicroRNAs