Epigenetic signatures and vascular risk in type 2 diabetes: A clinical perspective

Francesco Paneni, Sarah Costantino, Massimo Volpe, Thomas Felix Lüscher, Francesco Cosentino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Risk of diabetic complications continues to escalate overtime despite a multifactorial intervention with glucose-lowering drugs, anti-hypertensive agents and statins. In this perspective, a mechanisms-based therapeutic approach to vascular disease in diabetes represents a major challenge. Epigenetic signatures are emerging as important determinants of vascular disease in this setting. Methylation and acetylation of DNA and histones is a reversible process leading to dysregulation of oxidant and inflammatory genes such as mitochondrial adaptor p66Shc and transcription factor NF-kB p65. Epigenetic modifications associated with diabetes may contribute to the early identification of high risk individuals. Ongoing epigenomic analyses will be instrumental in identifying the epigenetic variations that are specifically associated with cardiovascular disease in patients with diabetes. Here, we describe a complex scenario of epigenetic changes and their putative link with diabetic vascular disease. Pharmacological reprogramming of diabetes-induced epigenetic signatures may be a promising option to dampen oxidative stress and inflammation, and thus prevent cardiovascular complications in this setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-197
Number of pages7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


  • Diabetes
  • Epigenetic changes
  • Oxidative stress
  • Vascular risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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