Implication of microRNAs in the cardiovascular system.Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2008 Apr; 8(2):181-8.CO
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous, small, noncoding RNAs that regulate about 30% of protein-coding genes of the human genome. Thus far, more than 400 miRNAs have been cloned and sequenced in humans. Their biological importance, initially demonstrated in cancer, viral diseases and developmental processes, was more recently investigated in cardiovascular physiology and pathology. MiRNAs expression is tightly controlled in a tissue-specific and developmental stage-specific manner and some of them are highly and specifically expressed in cardiovascular tissues. Through the regulation of the expression of genes involved in cell growth, contractility and electrical conductance, cardiac miRNAs may play a major role in heart development and function. In vascular cells, miRNAs have been linked to vasculoproliferative conditions such as angiogenesis and neointimal lesion formation. Diagnostic use and therapeutic modulation of individual miRNAs or miRNA clusters in cardiovascular diseases will have to be further explored in the future. Molecules specifically regulating cardiovascular miRNAs, either mimicking or antagonizing miRNAs actions, will hopefully normalize dysfunctional gene networks and constitute a new therapy paradigm of cardiovascular diseases.