MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short (∼22 nucleotides) non-coding ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules that negatively regulate the expression of protein-coding genes. Posttranscriptional silencing of target genes by miRNA is initiated by binding to the 3'-untranslated regions of target mRNAs, resulting in specific cleavage and subsequent degradation of the mRNA or by translational repression resulting in specific inhibition of protein synthesis. An increasing amount of evidence shows that miRNAs control a large number of biological processes and there exists a direct link between miRNAs and disease. miRNA molecules are abundantly expressed in tissue-specific and regional patterns and have been suggested as potential biomarkers, disease modulators and drug targets. The central nervous system is a prominent site of miRNA expression. Within the brain, several miRNAs are expressed and/or enriched in the region of the hypothalamus and miRNAs have recently been shown to be important regulators of hypothalamic control functions. The aim of this review is to summarize some of the current knowledge regarding the expression and role of miRNAs in the hypothalamus.
© 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.