MicroRNAs and Cardiac Regeneration
The human heart has a limited capacity to regenerate lost or damaged cardiomyocytes after cardiac insult. Instead, myocardial injury is characterized by extensive cardiac remodeling by fibroblasts, resulting in the eventual deterioration of cardiac structure and function. Cardiac function would be improved if these fibroblasts could be converted into cardiomyocytes. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), small noncoding RNAs that promote mRNA degradation and inhibit mRNA translation, have been shown to be important in cardiac development. Using this information, various researchers have used miRNAs to promote the formation of cardiomyocytes through several approaches. Several miRNAs acting in combination promote the direct conversion of cardiac fibroblasts into cardiomyocytes. Moreover, several miRNAs have been identified that aid the formation of inducible pluripotent stem cells and miRNAs also induce these cells to adopt a cardiac fate. MiRNAs have also been implicated in resident cardiac progenitor cell differentiation. In this review, we discuss the current literature as it pertains to these processes, as well as discussing the therapeutic implications of these findings.
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