Introduction: Small, non-coding, microRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as key mediators of post-transcriptional gene silencing in both pathogenic and pathological aspects of disorders. Recently, miR-21 was identified to regulate a variety of immune cells. Functional analysis indicated that miR-21 played a crucial role in a plethora of biological functions and diseases including development, cancer and inflammation, especially correlated with the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases.
Areas covered: This review provides a comprehensive view on the association of miR-21 and autoimmune disorders, such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, systemic sclerosis and psoriasis. Especially the mechanisms of miR-21 perform in these diseases, and the mechanisms that regulate miR-21.
Expert opinion: Though the exact roles of miR-21 in autoimmune diseases have not been fully elucidated, targeting miR-21 may serve as a promising therapy strategy.