The involvement of microRNAs in neurodegenerative diseases

Front Cell Neurosci. 2013 Dec 19:7:265. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2013.00265.


Neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs) originate from a loss of neurons in the central nervous system and are severely debilitating. The incidence of NDDs increases with age, and they are expected to become more common due to extended life expectancy. Because no cure is available, these diseases have become a major challenge in neurobiology. The increasing relevance of microRNAs (miRNAs) in biology has prompted investigation into their possible involvement in neurodegeneration in order to identify new therapeutic targets. The idea of using miRNAs as therapeutic targets is not far from realization, but important issues need to be addressed before moving into the clinics. Here, we review what is known about the involvement of miRNAs in the pathogenesis of NDDs. We also report the miRNA expression levels in peripheral tissues of patients affected by NDDs in order to evaluate their application as biomarkers of disease. Finally, discrepancies, innovations, and the effectiveness of collected data will be elucidated and discussed.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Huntington's disease; Parkinson's disease; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; biomarker; microRNA; neurodegenerative diseases.

Publication types

  • Review