Antisense technology: A review

J Biol Chem. 2021 Jan-Jun:296:100416. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2021.100416. Epub 2021 Feb 16.


Antisense technology is beginning to deliver on the broad promise of the technology. Ten RNA-targeted drugs including eight single-strand antisense drugs (ASOs) and two double-strand ASOs (siRNAs) have now been approved for commercial use, and the ASOs in phase 2/3 trials are innovative, delivered by multiple routes of administration and focused on both rare and common diseases. In fact, two ASOs are used in cardiovascular outcome studies and several others in very large trials. Interest in the technology continues to grow, and the field has been subject to a significant number of reviews. In this review, we focus on the molecular events that result in the effects observed and use recent clinical results involving several different ASOs to exemplify specific molecular mechanisms and specific issues. We conclude with the prospective on the technology.

Keywords: RNase H1; antisense; clinical results; molecular mechanisms; splicing.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Discovery
  • Humans
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / pharmacology*
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / therapeutic use
  • RNA, Small Interfering / pharmacology*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / therapeutic use


  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense
  • RNA, Small Interfering