Molecular pathways and role of epigenetics in the idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Varalakshmi Velagacherla, Chetan Hasmukh Mehta, Yogendra Nayak, Usha Yogendra Nayak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a fatal lung disease with unknown etiological factors that can progress to other dangerous diseases like lung cancer. Environmental and genetic predisposition are the two major etiological or risk factors involved in the pathology of the IPF. Among the environmental risk factors, smoking is one of the major causes for the development of IPF. Epigenetic pathways like nucleosomes remodeling, DNA methylation, histone modifications and miRNA mediated genes play a crucial role in development of IPF. Mutations in the genes make the epigenetic factors as important drug targets in IPF. Transcriptional changes due to environmental factors are also involved in the progression of IPF. The mutations in human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) have shown decreased life expectancy in IPF patients. The TERT-gene is highly expressed in chronic smokers and makes the role of epigenetics evident. Drug like nintedanib acts through vascular endothelial growth factor receptors (VEGFR), while drug pirfenidone acts through transforming growth factor (TGF), which is useful in IPF. Gefitinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor of EGFR, is useful as an anti-fibrosis agent in preclinical models. Newer drugs such as Celgene-CC90001 and FibroGen-FG-3019 are currently under investigations acts through the modulating epigenetic mechanisms. Thus, the study on epigenetics opens a wide window for the discovery of newer drugs. This study provides an elementary analysis of multiple regulators of epigenetics and their roles associated with the pathology of IPF. Further, this review also includes epigenetic drugs under development in preclinical and clinical stages.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120283
JournalLife Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 15-02-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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