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Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2013 Apr;12(2):88-98.

Reflections on microRNAs in chronic pulmonary disease: looking into the miR-ror and crystal ball.

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Department of Pharmacology, Regulus Therapeutics, Inc., 3545 John Hopkins Court, San Diego, CA 92121-1121, USA.


Chronic respiratory diseases are a significant health problem requiring novel approaches to both complement existing therapies and provide breakthrough medicines. Recent clinical advances in understanding the behavior of inhaled oligonucleotides provide the impetus for application of this technology to microRNA therapeutics. MicroRNAs are evolutionarily conserved small regulatory RNA molecules involved in tuning gene networks controlling biological and pathological processes. Deletion or overexpression of microRNAs results in phenotypic changes in animal models of disease such as cancer, fibrosis, diabetes, and inflammation. Inhibition of microRNAs in preclinical models of asthma, cystic fibrosis, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis has shown therapeutic promise. In animals, inhibitors of microRNAs directly delivered to the airway at doses suitable for nebulizers or hand-held inhalers up-regulate expression of cohorts of genes containing complementary "seed" sequences for specific and directed microRNA binding within their mRNA untranslated regions. These observations suggest the opportunity to exploit intervention in microRNA biology to create new therapies for chronic pulmonary disorders.

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