Recent studies on epigenetics, including DNA methylation and its regulatory enzymes, seem to contribute to elucidation of the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), although the relationship between DNA methylation and SLE has long been the subject of investigation. To obtain a deeper understanding of the role of DNA methylation in the induction of SLE, we reviewed the relationship between DNA methylation and SLE based on findings reported in the literature and our own data. Various studies, including ours, have indicated the possible importance of DNA methylation, especially hypomethylation, in the etiology of SLE. These epigenetic studies may give us clues towards elucidation of the pathogenesis of SLE and development of new therapeutic strategies for this disease.
Keywords: Systemic lupus erythematosus, DNA methylation, CpG motif, human endogenous retroviruses, toll-like receptor
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