MicroRNAs as Biomarkers for Ischemic Heart Disease

  • Lucas N. L. Van Aelst
  • Stephane HeymansEmail author


MicroRNAs (miRs) are short, noncoding RNAs that function as posttranscriptional inhibitors of mRNA translation to protein. They are essential for normal development and homeostasis. Dysregulated expression patterns both cause and result from disease states. Generally studied as intracellular mediators, miRs can be isolated from body fluids and exhibit remarkable stability to degradation. These features, in combination with their tissue specificity, make miRs attractive candidates as blood-derived biomarkers for coronary artery disease (CAD), the most frequent cause of death worldwide. The use of miRs as biomarkers in both symptomatic and asymptomatic CAD and the influence of conventional cardiovascular risk factors and CAD treatment on their circulating levels are the topics of this review. To conclude, it highlights the remaining hurdles to tackle before this promising application of miRs can enter into routine clinical practice.


MicroRNA Coronary artery disease Biological markers Myocardial infarction Heart failure 



The authors thank Ward Heggermont, MD, for critical revision of this manuscript. L.N.L. Van Aelst is supported by research grants from the Research Foundation Flanders, Belgium (FWO-Vlaanderen 1167610N and 1167612N). S. Heymans is supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (Vidi Grant 91796338), the Netherlands Heart Foundation (2008B011), the Research Foundation Flanders, Belgium (FWO-Vlaanderen 1183211N, FWO G074009N), and the European Union (FP7-HEALTH-2010, MEDIA; FP7-HEALTH-2011, EU MASCARA; FP7-MC-IAPP-2011, Marie-Curie-IAPP-CardiomiR; FP7-HEALTH-2012-HOMAGE). We acknowledge the support from the Netherlands Cardiovascular Research Initiative: the Dutch Heart Foundation, the Dutch Federation of University Medical Centres, the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (CVON 2011-11 ARENA).

Conflict of Interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Molecular and Vascular BiologyUniversity of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Department of CardiologyUniversity Hospitals LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.Department of CardiologyUniversity Hospital MaastrichtMaastrichtthe Netherlands
  4. 4.Interuniversity Cardiology Institute Netherlands (ICIN)Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and SciencesUtrechtthe Netherlands
  5. 5.Center for Heart Failure ResearchCardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM)Maastrichtthe Netherlands

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