Circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) are discussed as potential disease-specific biomarkers in cardiovascular disease. Their diagnostic value has been examined in numerous studies and animal models with respect to coronary artery disease (CAD) and myocardial infarction (MI) and the prognostic abilities of circulating miRNAs in risk stratification of future disease have been evaluated. Various miRNAs are described to complement protein-based biomarkers or classical risk factors in the diagnosis of CAD or MI and even represent potential new biomarkers in the discrimination of unstable angina pectoris (UAP). Signatures consisting of sets of multiple miRNAs seem to improve the predictive power compared to single miRNAs. Furthermore, the emerging field of miRNA-based therapeutics has reached cardiovascular research. The first promising in vitro results are raising hope for future clinical application. However, methods and material used for RNA isolation, miRNA detection and normalization steps still lack ways of standardization and need to be considered carefully. This article reviews the current knowledge of miRNAs in cardiovascular disease focusing on CAD and MI and will provide an overview regarding the use of circulating miRNAs as biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets in the field of CAD.
Keywords: Artery disease; biomarker; cardiovascular disease; circulating; coronary; diagnostic; microRNA (miRNA); myocardial infarction (MI); prognostic; risk stratification.