MicroRNAs in Endothelial Senescence and Atherosclerosis
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- Menghini, R., Casagrande, V. & Federici, M. J. of Cardiovasc. Trans. Res. (2013) 6: 924. doi:10.1007/s12265-013-9487-7
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Aging is an important risk factor for the development of many cardiovascular diseases as atherosclerosis and is accompanied by the decline of endothelial function. Senescence of endothelial cells has been proposed to be involved in endothelial dysfunction and atherogenesis. Therefore, the study of new target therapies to prevent or reverse this process represents a field of great interest. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a class of short RNAs, play key roles in various biological processes and in the development of human disease through specific posttranscriptional downregulation of gene expression. In particular, miRNAs that are highly expressed by endothelial cells can be detected in high concentration in human atherosclerotic plaques and in the circulation, suggesting their potential translation to bedside to determine the dysfunction of specific signaling pathways which play a role in coronary artery disease in the individual patient, a path towards a stratified medicine approach for early preventive treatment of disease. Here, we review the most recent advances in the field of atherosclerosis that implicate a role for miRNAs with a special emphasis on endothelial senescence and its involvement in the atherosclerotic process. Finally, we briefly discuss the potential use of miRNAs signatures to map atherosclerosis progression and in particular underlying the relevance of circulating plasma miRNAs that can be used clinically as biomarkers of vascular pathology.