An aneurysm is a local dilatation of a vessel wall which is >50% its original diameter. Within the spectrum of cardiovascular diseases, aortic aneurysms are among the most challenging to treat. Most patients present acutely after aneurysm rupture or dissection from a previous asymptomatic condition and are managed by open surgical or endovascular repair. In addition, patients may harbor concurrent disease contraindicating surgical intervention. Collectively, these factors have driven the search for alternative methods of identifying, monitoring and treating aortic aneurisms using less invasive approaches. Non-coding RNA (ncRNAs) are emerging as new fundamental regulators of gene expression. The small microRNAs have opened the field of ncRNAs capturing the attention of basic and clinical scientists for their potential to become new therapeutic targets and clinical biomarkers for aortic aneurysm. More recently, long ncRNAs (lncRNAs) have started to be actively investigated, leading to first exciting reports, which further suggest their important and yet largely unexplored contribution to vascular physiology and disease. This review introduces the different ncRNA types and focus at ncRNA roles in aorta aneurysms. We discuss the potential of therapeutic interventions targeting ncRNAs and we describe the research models allowing for mechanistic studies and clinical translation attempts for controlling aneurysm progression. Furthermore, we discuss the potential role of microRNAs and lncRNAs as clinical biomarkers.
Keywords: aneurysms; biomarkers; long non-coding RNAs; microRNAs; therapeutic targets; vascular cells.