The role of miRNAs in cardiovascular disease risk factors

Atherosclerosis. 2016 Nov;254:271-281. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2016.09.067. Epub 2016 Sep 22.


Coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis are complex pathologies that develop over time due to genetic and environmental factors. Differential expression of miRNAs has been identified in patients with coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis, however, their association with cardiovascular disease risk factors, including hyperlipidemia, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, lack of physical activity and smoking, remains unclear. This review examines the role of miRNAs as either biomarkers or potential contributors to the pathophysiology of these aforementioned risk factors. It is intended to provide an overview of the published literature which describes alterations in miRNA levels in both human and animal studies of cardiovascular risk factors and when known, the possible mechanism by which these miRNAs may exert either beneficial or deleterious effects. The intent of this review is engage clinical, translational, and basic scientists to design future collaborative studies to further elucidate the potential role of miRNAs in cardiovascular diseases.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Coronary artery disease; Review; Risk factors; miRNA.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / genetics*
  • Cell Communication
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Coronary Artery Disease / blood
  • Coronary Artery Disease / genetics
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / complications
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / metabolism
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / metabolism
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Tobacco
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • MicroRNAs
  • Cholesterol