The rapid emergence of microRNAs as a therapeutic target to treat cardiovascular disease

Gary D. Lopaschuk, PhD, MSc, BSc;
Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
Heart Metab. (2014) 65:2–3

  • Since they were first identified just over 20 years ago,1 microRNAs have emerged as major regulators of cellular physiology, as well as being identified as therapeutic targets for treating a number of cardiovascular diseases. MicroRNAs are small, noncoding RNA molecules that act as inhibitors of mRNA protein expression. MicroRNAs are highly conserved among species and have a critical role in regulating cellular physiology. Since the initial description of a microRNA in Caenorhabditis elegans,1 in excess of a thousand microRNAs have been identified, including numerous microRNAs involved in regulating the cardiovascular system. In addition, microRNAs have become a target for therapeutics in many types of cardiovascular diseases, with therapeutics aimed at modifying microRNA functions now entering clinical trials. This not only includes the use of microRNAs to inhibit protein expression, but also the use of inhibitors of microRNAs (such as antisense microRNAs) to overcome the inhibitory effects of microRNAs. Furthermore, microRNAs have become important biomarkers to identify cardiovascular disease. This issue of Heart and Metabolism consists of a number of key articles that address this exciting and emerging area of cardiovascular biology…
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