siRNA-based therapeutic approaches for rheumatic diseases

Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2013 Jan;9(1):56-62. doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2012.176. Epub 2012 Oct 23.


RNA interference (RNAi) is one of the most exciting and important discoveries of the past few decades. Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) can silence gene activity and be used to interfere with pathophysiological processes. Substantial research has focused on introducing 'drug-like' properties-stability, selectivity and potency-to RNAi molecules, and clinical trials have been initiated. Despite initial success, the current challenge that remains is to develop optimized vehicles that avoid off-target effects whilst efficiently delivering the therapeutic siRNA to specific cell types. As for many other diseases, siRNA-based therapy is emerging as a promising approach for the treatment of rheumatic disorders. Although the pathogenesis of rheumatic diseases is complex, identification of candidate genes able to influence either inflammation or structural damage has been successful. Here, we will discuss advances in the field and potential applications of siRNA therapeutics in clinical trials for rheumatic conditions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / genetics
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Gene Silencing*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy*
  • Osteoarthritis / genetics
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Small Interfering / administration & dosage
  • RNA, Small Interfering / therapeutic use*
  • Rats


  • RNA, Small Interfering