MicroRNAs in inflammatory lung disease--master regulators or target practice?
journal contributionposted on 22.11.2019, 16:30 by Irene K. Oglesby, Noel G. McElvaney, Catherine M. Greene
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as a class of regulatory RNAs with immense significance in numerous biological processes. When aberrantly expressed miRNAs have been shown to play a role in the pathogenesis of several disease states. Extensive research has explored miRNA involvement in the development and fate of immune cells and in both the innate and adaptive immune responses whereby strong evidence links miRNA expression to signalling pathways and receptors with critical roles in the inflammatory response such as NF-κB and the toll-like receptors, respectively. Recent studies have revealed that unique miRNA expression profiles exist in inflammatory lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and lung cancer. Evaluation of the global expression of miRNAs provides a unique opportunity to identify important target gene sets regulating susceptibility and response to infection and treatment, and control of inflammation in chronic airway disorders. Over 800 human miRNAs have been discovered to date, however the biological function of the majority remains to be uncovered. Understanding the role that miRNAs play in the modulation of gene expression leading to sustained chronic pulmonary inflammation is important for the development of new therapies which focus on prevention of disease progression rather than symptom relief. Here we discuss the current understanding of miRNA involvement in innate immunity, specifically in LPS/TLR4 signalling and in the progression of the chronic inflammatory lung diseases cystic fibrosis, COPD and asthma. miRNA in lung cancer and IPF are also reviewed.