About this Research Topic
Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression that occur without modifying the DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms can be triggered by environmental stimuli and are crucial for the development and maintenance of neuronal networks in the brain, and for higher-order brain processes, such as cognitive functions and behavior. Due to these important regulatory roles, impairments in epigenetic processes can confer susceptibility to several brain disorders and/or contribute to their etiology and pathophysiology. Manipulation of epigenetic mechanisms through pharmacological and/or non-pharmacological approaches could also lead to prevention and/or therapies for neuropsychiatric illnesses. Finally, promising evidence from rodent studies indicates a role for epigenetics in the transmission of neuropsychiatric disease susceptibility from parents to progeny- a novel concept that is also supported by emerging studies in humans.
The goal of this collection is to synthesize the research investigating the role of epigenetic processes in neuropsychiatric disorders, such as mood disorders, addiction, psychosis, autism spectrum disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases. Through a comprehensive profiling and assessment of both original studies and reviews on the topic, the editors aim to compile an important collection of articles which identify epigenetic modifiers associated with neuropsychiatric disorders. A special emphasis will be on epigenetic pathways that are offset by specific environmental exposures and/or life experiences and are crucial to the development, progression, and/or transmission of neuropsychiatric disorders.
The research topic welcomes studies broadly related to the following themes:
1. Basic science studies involving disease models, or clinical studies of patient populations, on the role of established epigenetic processes (histone modifications, DNA methylation/hydroxymethylation, and non-coding RNAs) in risk, pathogenesis, prognosis, or inheritance of neuropsychiatric disorders.
2. Basic science studies not involving disease models on the role of novel epigenetic processes (including chromatin looping, nucleosome organization, prions, epigenetic drift induced by DNA breaks, and RNA modification) in the regulation of neurocognitive and/or behavioral processes with postulated disease relevance.
3. Review articles on the involvement of specific epigenetic processes in neuropsychiatric disorders and/or neurocognitive perturbations with a translational focus.
Submission types include Original Research, Brief Research Report, Review, and Mini Review.
Keywords: epigenetics, neuropsychiatric disorders, risk, environment, brain
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.