In the past years, we have witnessed unprecedented attention for the study of epigenetic alterations in the context of a variety of complex disorders, including autoimmune diseases . This is in part due to the observation that genetics is insufficient to entirely explain the predisposition to their pathogenesis. The environmental influence is well illustrated by the existence of partial concordance for susceptibility to disease in monozygotic twins. In connection with this epigenetic mechanisms regulate gene expression and are sensitive to external stimuli, bridging the gap between environmental and genetic factors. There is now considerable evidence of the existence of epigenetic alterations, particularly DNA methylation alterations, in diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis . Most of the studies were initially performed by using candidate-gene approaches, although the increasing availability of high-throughput methods is providing better methods for the screening of epigenetic alterations in these diseases
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