The Role of Epigenetic Modifications in Systemic Sclerosis: A Druggable Target

John Henderson, Joerg Distler, Steven O'Reilly*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a rare autoimmune disorder characterised by skin fibrosis that often also affects internal organs, eventually resulting in mortality. Although management of the symptoms has extended lifespan, patients still suffer from poor quality of life, hence the need for improved therapies. Development of efficacious treatments has been stymied by the unknown aetiology, although recent advancements suggest a potentially key role for epigenetics – the regulation of gene expression by noncoding RNAs and chemical modifications to DNA or DNA-associated proteins. Herein, the evidence implicating epigenetics in the pathogenesis of SSc is discussed with an emphasis on the therapeutic potential this introduces to the field – particularly the repurposing of epigenetic targeting cancer therapeutics and newly emerging miRNA-based strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-411
JournalTrends in Molecular Medicine
Issue number5
Early online date8 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


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