Allergic disease development is affected by both genes and the environment, and epigenetic mechanisms are hypothesized to mediate these environmental effects. In this article, we discuss the link between the environment, DNA methylation and allergic disease, as well as questions of causality inherent to analyses of DNA methylation. From the practical side, we describe characteristics of allergic phenotypes and contrast different epidemiologic study designs used in epigenetic research. We examine methodological considerations, how best to conduct preprocessing and analysis of DNA methylation data sets, and the latest methods, technologies and discoveries in this rapidly advancing field. DNA methylation and other epigenetic marks are firmly entwined with allergic disease, a link that may hold the basis for future allergic disease diagnosis and treatment.
- DNA methylation