New and emerging roles of small RNAs in neurodegeneration, muscle, cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases

Swiss Med Wkly. 2015 Sep 16;145:w14192. doi: 10.4414/smw.2015.14192. eCollection 2015.


Small noncoding RNAs (snRNAs) were discovered more than two decades ago, yet it was not until relatively recently that their important role in genome regulation was recognised. With such a substantial role in genome regulation, it is not surprising that snRNAs are crucial contributors to an ever-increasing number of diseases, as evidenced by the long list of published studies. Currently, microRNAs (miRNAs) represent the most intensively studied snRNAs. Dysregulation of miRNAs has been confirmed in numerous diseases, and changes in their levels could play an essential role in disease onset and progression and could be used for prognosis and potential therapy. Indeed, disease-altered miRNAs may either signify a direct trigger or a consequence of the disease. Therefore, miRNAs represent unique targets for disease intervention through their down- or up-regulation. Importantly, miRNAs may facilitate disease monitoring by detection of disease-altered miRNAs in easily accessible bodily fluids, such as blood or cerebrospinal fluid. Therefore, study of these events is of utmost importance for understanding the molecular mechanisms that drive disease, as well as for diagnosis and therapy. Here we attempted to synthesise a large number of studies to highlight the crucial role of miRNAs in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative, muscle, cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / physiology*
  • Muscular Diseases / genetics*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / genetics*


  • MicroRNAs