CircRNA-miRNA interactions in atherogenesis

Mol Cell Biochem. 2022 Dec;477(12):2703-2733. doi: 10.1007/s11010-022-04455-8. Epub 2022 May 23.


Atherosclerosis is the major cause of coronary artery disease (CAD) which includes unstable angina, myocardial infarction, and heart failure. The onset of atherogenesis, a process of atherosclerotic lesion formation in the intima of arteries, is driven by lipid accumulation, a vicious cycle of reactive oxygen species (ROS)-induced oxidative stress and inflammatory reactions leading to endothelial cell (EC) dysfunction, vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) activation, and foam cell formation which further fuel plaque formation and destabilization. In recent years, there is a surge in the number of publications reporting the involvement of circular RNAs (circRNAs) in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and metabolic syndromes. These studies have advanced our understanding on the biological functions of circRNAs. One of the most common mechanism of action of circRNAs reported is the sponging of microRNAs (miRNAs) by binding to the miRNAs response element (MRE), thereby indirectly increases the transcription of their target messenger RNAs (mRNAs). Individual networks of circRNA-miRNA-mRNA associated with atherogenesis have been extensively reported, however, there is a need to connect these findings for a complete overview. This review aims to provide an update on atherogenesis-related circRNAs and analyze the circRNA-miRNA-mRNA interactions in atherogenesis. The atherogenic mechanisms and clinical relevance of each atherogenesis-related circRNA were systematically discussed for better understanding of the knowledge gap in this area.

Keywords: Atherogenesis; Atherosclerosis; Circular RNA; Endothelial dysfunction; microRNA.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atherosclerosis* / genetics
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs* / genetics
  • MicroRNAs* / metabolism
  • RNA, Circular / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • RNA, Circular
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger