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Clin Genet. 2008 Oct;74(4):307-15. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0004.2008.01075.x. Epub 2008 Aug 18.

MicroRNA epigenetic alterations: predicting biomarkers and therapeutic targets in human diseases.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology; and Department of Epigenetic Research Center, Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, China.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) consist of a class of evolutionarily conserved small non-coding RNA that regulates target messenger RNAs by mechanisms such as incomplete base pairing and post-transcriptional gene silencing. Recent studies have shown that aberrant miRNA expression is a common feature of many human disorders including aging, heart diseases, cancer, autoimmune diseases and others. It seems likely that miRNA expression levels can be used as novel diagnostic markers. MiRNAs may also provide a new strategy for therapeutic interventions. In this review, we focus on recent advances in understanding how miRNA changes contribute to disease development and their potential as novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for human diseases.

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