Long noncoding RNAs in cardiovascular disease, diagnosis, and therapy

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have emerged as powerful regulators of nearly all biological processes. Their cell-type and tissue-specific expression in health and disease provides new avenues for diagnosis and therapy. This review highlights the role of lncRNAs that are involved in cardiovascular disease (CVD) with a special focus on cell types involved in cardiac injury and remodeling, vascular injury, angiogenesis, inflammation, and lipid metabolism.

Recent findings

Almost 98% of the genome does not encode for proteins. LncRNAs are among the most abundant type of RNA in the noncoding genome. Accumulating studies have uncovered novel lncRNA-mediated regulation of CVD-associated genes, signaling pathways, and pathophysiological responses. Targeting lncRNAs in vivo using short antisense oligonucleotides or by gene editing has provided important insights into disease pathogenesis through epigenetic, transcriptional, or translational mechanisms. Although cross-species conservation still remains a major obstacle, there is increasing appreciation that altered expression of lncRNAs associates with stage-specific CVD and in human patient cohorts, providing new opportunities for diagnosis and therapy.

Summary

A better understanding of lncRNAs will not only fundamentally improve our understanding of key signaling pathways in CVD, but also aid in the development of effective new therapies and RNA-based biomarkers.

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