Interplay between circular RNA, microRNA, and human diseases

Mol Genet Genomics. 2022 Mar;297(2):277-286. doi: 10.1007/s00438-022-01856-8. Epub 2022 Jan 27.


Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are endogenous RNA formed by the back splicing process. They are ubiquitous, stable, evolutionally conserved, and are tissue-specific. The biochemical and molecular features of circRNAs hold the potential to be used as biomarkers in various diseases to achieve pharmacological goals. CircRNAs have numerous latent modes of action, from acting as sponges for microRNAs and RNA binding proteins to serve as transcriptional regulators, epigenetic alterations, etc. Dysregulated functioning of several circular RNAs lead to the progression of a plethora of diseases. Due to their extremely stable nature and amazing tissue specificity, circRNAs have paved the way for advanced clinical studies as a novel method of early disease detection and treatment efficacy. Therefore, they have been recognized as a latent diagnostic biomarker for neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and cardiovascular diseases.

Keywords: CircRNA; Disease; Expression; Non-coding RNA; miRNA.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus* / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus* / genetics
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs* / genetics
  • MicroRNAs* / metabolism
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA Splicing
  • RNA, Circular / genetics


  • Biomarkers
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Circular
  • RNA