Role of Histone Deacetylases in Monocyte Function in Health and Chronic Inflammatory Diseases
Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are a family of 18 members that participate in the epigenetic regulation of gene expression. In addition to histones, some HDACs also deacetylate transcription factors and specific cytoplasmic proteins.
Monocytes, as part of the innate immune system, maintain tissue homeostasis and help fight infections and cancer. In these cells, HDACs are involved in multiple processes including proliferation, migration, differentiation, inflammatory response, infections, and tumorigenesis. Here, a systematic description of the role that most HDACs play in these functions is reviewed. Specifically, some HDACs induce a pro-inflammatory response and play major roles in host defense. Conversely, other HDACs reprogram monocytes and macrophages towards an immunosuppressive phenotype. The right balance between both types helps monocytes to respond correctly to the different physiological/pathological stimuli. However, aberrant expressions or activities of specific HDACs are associated with autoimmune diseases along with other chronic inflammatory diseases, infections, or cancer.
This paper critically reviews the interesting and extensive knowledge regarding the role of some HDACs in these pathologies. It also shows that as yet, very little progress has been made toward the goal of finding effective HDAC-targeted therapies. However, given their obvious potential, we conclude that it is worth the effort to develop monocyte-specific drugs that selectively target HDAC subtypes with the aim of finding effective treatments for diseases in which our innate immune system is involved.