In recent years, different studies have revealed that adult mammalian cardiomyocytes have the capacity to self-renew under homeostatic conditions and after myocardial injury. Interestingly, data from animal models capable of regeneration, such as the adult zebrafish and neonatal mice, have identified different non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) as functional RNA molecules driving cardiac regeneration and repair. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of the roles that a specific subset of ncRNAs, namely microRNAs (miRNA), plays in these animal models. We also emphasize the importance of characterizing and manipulating miRNAs as a novel approach to awaken the dormant regenerative potential of the adult mammalian heart by the administration of miRNA mimics or inhibitors. Overall, the use of these strategies alone or in combination with current cardiac therapies may represent new avenues to pursue for cardiac regeneration.
Keywords: Animal models; Heart failure; Non-coding RNAs; Regeneration; miRNAs.