Recently it has been shown that epigenetic mechanisms are involved in initiation and progression of caridiovascular and metabolic diseases, including diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis, heart failure, hypertension and kidney diseases. In these chronic diseases, various exogenous and endogenous stresses cause DNA damage, followed by DNA repair process. Accumulation of DNA damages and impaired repair process can lead to epigenetic changes, which may contribute to onset and progression of diseases. Recently we have shown that therapeutic effect of transcription factor KLF4 (Kruppel-like factor 4) in kidney glomerular epithelial cells (podocytes) on proteinuric kidney diseases through epigenetic mechanisms. Our result suggests the possibility of transcription factors as a target of selective epigenetic therapy. Moreover, we have reported that renin-angiotensin system (RAS) blockers, which are widely prescribed for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, can restore epigenetic changes through KLF4 in part. These results suggest that activation of RAS causes epigenetic changes in disease states, and elucidation of the precise mechanism may lead to establishment of novel therapeutic target of kidney diseases. In this review we focus on DNA damage repair system and epigenetic modulators in disease states, and speculate a candidate for epigenetic therapy of kidney diseases.
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