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The salient role of microRNAs in atherogenesis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Callum J. Donaldson, Ka Hou Lao, Lingfang Zeng

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98 - 113
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Early online date8 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018

King's Authors


Atherosclerosis, a chronic inflammatory condition that is characterized by the accumulation of lipid-loaded macrophages, occurs preferentially at the arterial branching points where disturbed flow is prominent. The pathogenesis of atherosclerotic lesion formation is a multistage process involving multiple cell types, inflammatory mediators and hemodynamic forces in the vessel wall in response to atherogenic stimuli. Researches from the past decade have uncovered the critical roles of microRNAs (miRNAs) in regulating multiple pathophysiological effects and signaling pathways in endothelial cells (ECs), vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), macrophages and lipid homeostasis, which are key in atherosclerotic lesion formation. The expression of these miRNAs are either in response to biomechanical (flow-responsive) or biochemical (non-flow-responsive) stimuli. Recent evidences also indicate an important role for long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in mediating several atherosclerotic processes. In this review, we provide a detailed summary on the current paradigms in miRNA-dependent regulation, the emerging role of lncRNAs in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis, and clinical interventions targeting these in an attempt to develop novel diagnostics and treatments for atherosclerosis.

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