Epigenetic Regulators of Mesenchymal Stem/Stromal Cell Lineage Determination

Dimitrios Cakouros, Stan Gronthos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of Review: Although many signalling pathways have been discovered to be essential in mesenchymal stem/stromal (MSC) differentiation, it has become increasingly clear in recent years that epigenetic regulation of gene transcription is a vital component of lineage determination, encompassing diet, lifestyle and parental influences on bone, fat and cartilage development. Recent Findings: This review discusses how specific enzymes that modify histone methylation and acetylation or DNA methylation orchestrate the differentiation programs in lineage determination of MSC and the epigenetic changes that facilitate development of bone related diseases such as osteoporosis. The review also describes how environmental factors such as mechanical loading influence the epigenetic signatures of MSC, and how the use of chemical agents or small peptides can regulate epigenetic drift in MSC populations during ageing and disease. Summary: Epigenetic regulation of MSC lineage commitment is controlled through changes in enzyme activity, which modifies DNA and histone residues leading to alterations in chromatin structure. The co-ordinated epigenetic regulation of transcriptional activation and repression act to mediate skeletal tissue homeostasis, where deregulation of this process can lead to bone loss during ageing or osteoporosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-605
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Osteoporosis Reports
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Oct 2020


  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetics
  • Histone acetylation
  • Histone methylation
  • MSC
  • Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells
  • Skeletal stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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