MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, ~22 nucleotide (nt) sequences of RNA that regulate gene expression at posttranscriptional level. These endogenous gene expression inhibitors were primarily described in cancer but recent exciting findings have also demonstrated a key role in cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), including atherosclerosis. MiRNAs control endothelial cell (EC), vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC), and macrophage functions, and thereby regulate the progression of atherosclerosis. MiRNA expression is modulated by different stimuli involved in every stage of atherosclerosis, and conversely miRNAs modulates several pathways implicated in plaque development such as cholesterol metabolism. In the present review, we focus on the importance of miRNAs in atherosclerosis, and we further discuss their potential use as biomarkers and therapeutic targets in CVDs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine