A number of cardiovascular diseases, such as restenosis, aneurysm and atherosclerosis, lead to vascular remodeling associated with complex adaptive reactions of different cell populations. These reactions include growth of smooth muscle cells (SMCs), proliferation of endothelial cells (ECs) and the inflammatory response of macrophages. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a class of short RNAs, play key roles in various biological processes and in the development of human disease by post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. Here, we review the molecular mechanisms of a subset of miRNAs involved in vascular remodeling, including miR-143/145, miR-221/222, miR-126, miR-21 and miR-155. Some of these miRNAs, such as miR-143/145 and miR-126, have been shown to be protective during vascular remodeling, whereas others, such as miR-21, may promote the cellular response that leads to neointima formation. The increasing knowledge regarding the roles of miRNAs in vascular remodeling opens novel avenues for the treatment of various cardiovascular diseases. However, more in vivo studies on the functional roles of these miRNAs are required in the future.
- Copyright © 2012, American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology