MicroRNAs in the cardiovascular system

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Reprogramming of gene expression underlies the mechanisms involved in cardiac pathogenesis. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are unique posttranscriptional regulators of gene expression whose function in cardiac development and disease has recently begun to unravel. In addition, they are potentially highly effective therapeutic tools. In this review, we will summarize the recent advancements in the field.

Recent findings

The cardiac-enriched miRNAs, including miR-1, miR-133, and miR-208, as well as the ubiquitous miR-23a and miR-199b, play major roles in the development of cardiac hypertrophy. On the other hand, miR-21, miR-199a, miR-210, and miR-494 have been proven critical for the myocytes’ adaptation and survival during hypoxia/ischemia. Using depletion or replacement strategies against some of these miRNAs has proven very effective in preventing or even reversing some disorders. These findings and more will be detailed in this review.

Summary

In general, the discovery of miRNAs has uncovered a new dimension of gene regulation that provides us with unique mechanistic insights into cardiac diseases, in addition to which they can be utilized for new diagnostics and therapeutic strategies.

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