Cardiovascular disease, which is multifactorial and can be influenced by a multitude of environmental and heritable risk factors, remains a major health problem, even though its pathophysiology is far from been elucidated. Discovered just over a decade ago, microRNAs comprise short,
non-coding RNAs, which have evoked a great deal of interest, due to their importance for many aspects of homeostasis and disease. Hundreds of different microRNAs are constantly being reported in various organisms. According to a growing body of literature, they have been implicated in the
regulation of human physiological processes. More specifically, miRNAs are expressed in the cardiovascular system and could have crucial roles in normal development and physiology, as well as in disease development. Furthermore, they have been shown to participate in cardiovascular disease
pathogenesis including atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias. In contrast to our original thought, miRNAs exist in circulating blood and are relatively stable, thus, they could be proved useful as biomarkers in that state. Understanding
the underlying mechanisms, in which these major regulatory gene families are implicated, will provide novel opportunities for diagnosis and therapy of cardiovascular diseases.
Cardiology Department, Hippokration Hospital, Athens University Medical School, Athens, Greece.
Publication date: June 1, 2012
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