MicroRNAs as Clinical Biomarkers and Therapeutic Tools in Perioperative Medicine

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Over the past decade, evolutionarily conserved, noncoding small RNAs—so-called microRNAs (miRNAs)—have emerged as important regulators of virtually all cellular processes. miRNAs influence gene expression by binding to the 3′-untranslated region of protein-coding RNA, leading to its degradation and translational repression. In medicine, miRNAs have been revealed as novel, highly promising biomarkers and as attractive tools and targets for novel therapeutic approaches. miRNAs are currently entering the field of perioperative medicine, and they may open up new perspectives in anesthesia, critical care, and pain medicine. In this review, we provide an overview of the biology of miRNAs and their potential role in human disease. We highlight current paradigms of miRNA-mediated effects in perioperative medicine and provide a survey of miRNA biomarkers in the field known so far. Finally, we provide a perspective on miRNA-based therapeutic opportunities and perspectives.

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