Small and long non-coding RNAs in cardiac homeostasis and regeneration

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 Apr;1833(4):923-33. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2012.08.010. Epub 2012 Aug 23.


Cardiovascular diseases and in particular heart failure are major causes of morbidity and mortality in the Western world. Recently, the notion of promoting cardiac regeneration as a means to replace lost cardiomyocytes in the damaged heart has engendered considerable research interest. These studies envisage the utilization of both endogenous and exogenous cellular populations, which undergo highly specialized cell fate transitions to promote cardiomyocyte replenishment. Such transitions are under the control of regenerative gene regulatory networks, which are enacted by the integrated execution of specific transcriptional programs. In this context, it is emerging that the non-coding portion of the genome is dynamically transcribed generating thousands of regulatory small and long non-coding RNAs, which are central orchestrators of these networks. In this review, we discuss more particularly the biological roles of two classes of regulatory non-coding RNAs, i.e. microRNAs and long non-coding RNAs, with a particular emphasis on their known and putative roles in cardiac homeostasis and regeneration. Indeed, manipulating non-coding RNA-mediated regulatory networks could provide keys to unlock the dormant potential of the mammalian heart to regenerate. This should ultimately improve the effectiveness of current regenerative strategies and discover new avenues for repair. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Cardiomyocyte Biology: Cardiac Pathways of Differentiation, Metabolism and Contraction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Heart Failure / genetics*
  • Heart Failure / metabolism
  • Heart Failure / pathology
  • Heart Failure / therapy
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / pathology
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics*
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / metabolism
  • Recovery of Function / genetics*
  • Regeneration*
  • Signal Transduction


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Long Noncoding