MicroRNAs in the Lung
The lung constitutes one of the most delicate tissue structures in mammalian organisms to accomplish the vital function of gas exchange. On the other hand, its immense surface area, necessary in this context, exhibits the first line of defense against a variety of pro-inflammatory stimuli.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of post-transcriptional regulators that revolutionized our view of gene expression regulation. By now, it is well established that miRNAs impair all known cellular and developmental processes. Extensive research over the last years revealed not only a fundamental role for miRNAs in lung development and homeostasis, but also in the process of lung inflammation. Lung inflammation occurs in response to stimuli very different in nature (e.g., physical, radioactive, infective, pro-allergenic, or toxic), and in some cases becomes manifest in chronic diseases (e.g., chronic bronchitis/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and allergic airway diseases) or even lung cancer.
This review chapter will briefly describe the current knowledge concerning miRNA expression and their exerted target regulation in the course of lung inflammation and lung cancer.
KeywordsmiRNA Lung Inflammation Cancer Homeostasis COPD Cystic fibrosis Asthma
We thank many collaborators for fruitful discussion, especially Annalisa Marsico, Julio Vera Gonzales, Martin Vingron, and Xin Lai. Part of this work has been funded by BMBF (Forsys Lung - FKZ 0315256) and DFG (SFB/TR-84, IRTG 1673) to B.S. We would like to apologize to all colleagues whose excellent contributions to the field could not be included in this text due to space constraints.
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