Cardiovascular diseases are among the leading causes of mortality worldwide. Besides environmental and genetic changes, these disorders can be influenced by processes which do not affect DNA sequence yet still play an important role in gene expression and which can be inherited. These so-called 'epigenetic' changes include DNA methylation, histone modifications, and ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling enzymes, which influence chromatin remodeling and gene expression. Next to these, microRNAs are non-coding RNA molecules that silence genes post-transcriptionally. Both epigenetic factors and microRNAs are known to influence cardiac development and homeostasis, in an individual fashion but also in a complex regulatory network. In this review, we will discuss how epigenetic factors and microRNAs interact with each other and how together they can influence cardiovascular diseases.
- Cardiovascular diseases