The role of microRNAs in chronic respiratory disease: recent insights.
Stolzenburg LR., Harris A.
Chronic respiratory diseases encompass a group of diverse conditions affecting the airways, which all impair lung function over time. They include cystic fibrosis (CF), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, which together affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a class of small non-coding RNAs involved in post-transcriptional gene repression, are now recognized as major regulators in the development and progression of chronic lung disease. Alterations in miRNA abundance occur in lung tissue, inflammatory cells, and freely circulating in blood and are thought to function both as drivers and modifiers of disease. Their importance in lung pathology has prompted the development of miRNA-based therapies and biomarker tools. Here, we review the current literature on miRNA expression and function in chronic respiratory disease and highlight further research that is needed to propel miRNA treatments for lung disorders towards the clinic.