Epigenetic regulation of neuronal signalling through histone acetylation dictates transcription programs that govern neuronal memory, plasticity and learning paradigms. Histone Acetyl Transferases (HATs) and Histone Deacetylases (HDACs) are antagonistic enzymes that regulate gene expression through acetylation and deacetylation of histone proteins around which DNA is wrapped inside a eukaryotic cell nucleus. The epigenetic control of HDACs and the cellular imbalance between HATs and HDACs dictate disease states and have been implicated in muscular dystrophy, loss of memory, neurodegeneration and autistic disorders. Altering gene expression profiles through inhibition of HDACs is now emerging as a powerful technique in therapy. This review presents evolving applications of HDAC inhibitors as potential drugs in neurological research and therapy. Mechanisms that govern their expression profiles in neuronal signalling, plasticity and learning will be covered. Promising and exciting possibilities of HDAC inhibitors in memory formation, fear conditioning, ischemic stroke and neural regeneration have been detailed.
Keywords: Chromatin, histone deacetylases, histone deacetylase inhibitor, histones, immune response, ischemia, osteogenic
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