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Cardiovasc Res. 2011 Jun 1;90(3):404-12. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvr019. Epub 2011 Mar 2.

Epigenetic regulation of cardiovascular differentiation.

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  • 1Institute of Cardiovascular Regeneration, Center for Molecular Medicine, University of Frankfurt, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, 60590 Frankfurt, Germany.


Epigenetic control mechanisms play a key role in the regulation of embryonic development and tissue homeostasis and modulate cardiovascular diseases. Increasing evidence suggests that lineage commitment of stem/progenitor cells is tightly regulated by epigenetic mechanisms. These epigenetic control mechanisms include DNA and histone modifications, which modulate the chromatin structure thereby regulating access of transcription factors. Particularly, the modification of histone acetylation and methylation, which is controlled by families of histone acetylases/deacetylases and methyltransferases/demethylases, respectively, controls stem cell maintenance, differentiation, and function. This review article summarizes our current understanding of epigenetic mechanisms regulating the differentiation of cardiovascular cells, specifically endothelial cells and cardiac muscle lineages. In particular, the article will focus on the enzymes which modify histones and are involved in chromatin remodelling.

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