The role of microRNAs in coronary artery disease: From pathophysiology to diagnosis and treatment

Atherosclerosis. 2015 Aug;241(2):624-33. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2015.06.037. Epub 2015 Jun 18.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are tiny non-coding RNA molecules that regulate gene expression predominantly at the post-transcriptional level. Far from being simple intracellular regulators, miRNAs have recently been involved in intercellular communication and have been shown to circulate in the bloodstream in stable forms. In the past years specific miRNA expression patterns have been linked to the development of atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease, two closely related conditions. The study of miRNAs has promoted our understanding of the processes involved in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches have emerged. In this review, we present the role of miRNAs in the development of atherosclerosis, on coronary artery disease progression and we assess their role as diagnostic biomarkers. Finally we evaluate the therapeutic and preventive opportunities that arise from the study of miRNAs in coronary artery disease and especially in myocardial infarction.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Coronary artery disease; MicroRNAs; Myocardial infarction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Atherosclerosis / diagnosis
  • Atherosclerosis / genetics*
  • Atherosclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Atherosclerosis / therapy
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Blood Platelets / cytology
  • Cell Movement
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnosis
  • Coronary Artery Disease / genetics*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / physiopathology*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / therapy
  • Disease Progression
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / metabolism
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / metabolism
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Monocytes / cytology
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / cytology
  • Myocardial Infarction / metabolism
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Oligonucleotides / chemistry
  • Reperfusion Injury / pathology
  • Stem Cells / cytology


  • Biomarkers
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • MicroRNAs
  • Oligonucleotides