The role of epigenetic modifications in neurodevelopmental disorders: A systematic review

Lorenza Dall'Aglio, Taulant Muka, Charlotte Cecil, Wichor Bramer, Michael M. P. J. Verbiest, Jana Nano, Andrea Cortes Hidalgo, Oscar H. Franco, Henning Tiemeier

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)
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Epigenetic processes have been suggested as key mechanisms in the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders. This systematic review summarizes the current evidence for an association between epigenetics and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention/Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Six databases were searched until the 24th of October 2017. Of the 2169 retrieved articles, 29 met our inclusion criteria. While generally associations between epigenetics and neurodevelopmental disorders were reported, only a few findings were consistent across independent analyses. Differential epigenetic markers were repeatedly identified in OR2L13, C11orf21/TSPAN32, PRRT1 and H3K27 for autism, and in VIPR2 for ADHD. Overall, evidence of an association between epigenetic modifications and ASD or ADHD should be considered preliminary and based on studies suffering from numerous caveats. We highlight the need for carefully designed investigations and for greater homogeneity and provide specific recommendations for future research. Despite our current limited understanding, the suggestive findings and the rapid advances in the field hold the promise of a forthcoming elucidation of the role of epigenetic modifications in neurodevelopmental disorders.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Early online date29 Jul 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jul 2018


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