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Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2013 Jan;99(1):1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2012.10.010. Epub 2012 Oct 25.

The role of non-coding RNAs in diabetic nephropathy: potential applications as biomarkers for disease development and progression.

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  • 1Diabetes, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Division, Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States.


Diabetic nephropathy, a progressive kidney disease that develops secondary to diabetes, is the major cause of chronic kidney disease in developed countries, and contributes significantly to increased morbidity and mortality among individuals with diabetes. Although the causes of diabetic nephropathy are not fully understood, recent studies demonstrate a role for epigenetic factors in the development of the disease. For example, non-coding RNA (ncRNA) molecules, including microRNAs (miRNAs), have been shown to be functionally important in modulating renal response to hyperglycemia and progression of diabetic nephropathy. Characterization of miRNA expression in diabetic nephropathy from studies of animal models of diabetes, and in vitro investigations using different types of kidney cells also support this role. The goal of this review, therefore, is to summarize the current state of knowledge of specific ncRNAs involved in the development of diabetic nephropathy, with a focus on the potential role of miRNAs to serve as sensitive, non-invasive biomarkers of kidney disease and progression. Non-coding RNAs are currently recognized as potentially important regulators of genes involved in processes related to the development of diabetic nephropathy, and as such, represent viable targets for both clinical diagnostic strategies and therapeutic intervention.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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