MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are post-transcriptional inhibitory regulators of gene expression by binding to complementary messenger RNA (mRNA) transcripts. Extracellular miRNAs are transported by membrane-derived vesicles (exosomes and microparticles), lipoproteins, and other ribonucleoprotein complexes. Extracellular microRNAs are emerging as important mediators of intercellular communications, being involved in the transmission of biological signals between cells. Several miRNAs have been identified as having a primary impact on many biological processes that are of direct relevance to cardiovascular complications of diabetes. Whether the extracellular miRNAs are directly involved in the regulation of these processes is yet to be established. Here, we review recent progresses in extracellular miRNA biology and the role of extracellular miRNA in diabetes induced cardiovascular disease, describing the regulators affecting miRNA transport and the mechanisms for different miRNA transporters. In addition, we discuss the advancement of the research in this field and identify the associated challenges. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: MicroRNAs and lipid/energy metabolism and related diseases edited by Carlos Fernández-Hernando and Yajaira Suárez.
Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Diabetes; Exosomes; Extracellular vesicles; MicroRNAs.
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