Role of microRNAs in the immune system, inflammation and cancer

World J Gastroenterol. 2013 May 28;19(20):2985-96. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i20.2985.


MicroRNAs, a key class of gene expression regulators, have emerged as crucial players in various biological processes such as cellular proliferation and differentiation, development and apoptosis. In addition, microRNAs are coming to light as crucial regulators of innate and adaptive immune responses, and their abnormal expression and/or function in the immune system have been linked to multiple human diseases including inflammatory disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease, and cancers. In this review, we discuss our current understanding of microRNAs with a focus on their role and mode of action in regulating the immune system during inflammation and carcinogenesis.

Keywords: Colorectal cancer; Immune response; Inflammation; Inflammatory bowel disease; MicroRNAs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / immunology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / immunology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Immune System / immunology
  • Immune System / metabolism*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / diagnosis
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / genetics
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / immunology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / metabolism*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / therapy
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Prognosis


  • MicroRNAs