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Exp Mol Med. 2013 Sep 20;45:e41. doi: 10.1038/emm.2013.71.

MicroRNAs: their involvement in fibrosis pathogenesis and use as diagnostic biomarkers in scleroderma.

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Department of Rheumatology, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, People's Republic of China.


miRNAs are important post-transcriptional regulators. The aberrant expression of miRNAs is strongly associated with the initiation and progression of pathophysiologic processes in a wide range of human diseases. Scleroderma (systemic sclerosis; SSc) is a highly heterogeneous autoimmune disease that includes the progressive fibrotic replacement of normal tissue architecture in multiple organs. Our previous studies have suggested that SSc skin tissues display a different miRNA expression signature than that found in normal controls. miRNAs with pro- or antifibrotic properties are found to be dysregulated in SSc skin fibrosis. Serum miRNA levels are associated with SSc activity and severity. miRNAs have the potential to be therapeutic targets and serve as biomarkers for SSc diagnosis and assessment of disease state and severity. This review summarizes the SSc miRNA expression signature and the roles of dysregulation of miRNAs in SSc tissues and serum and examines the future therapeutic potential of targeting miRNAs in the management of SSc patients.

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