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World J Biol Chem. 2014 Feb 26;5(1):1-11. doi: 10.4331/wjbc.v5.i1.1.

MicroRNA signature and function in retinal neovascularization.

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Saloni Agrawal, Department of Cell Biology, State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY 11203, United States.


Ischemic retinopathies are clinically well-defined chronic microvascular complications characterized by gradually progressive alterations in the retinal microvasculature and a compensatory aberrant neovascularization of the eye. The subsequent metabolic deficiencies result in structural and functional alterations in the retina which is highly susceptible to injurious stimuli such as diabetes, trauma, hyperoxia, inflammation, aging and dysplipidemia. Emerging evidence indicates that an effective therapy may require targeting multiple components of the angiogenic pathway. Conceptually, mircoRNA (miRNA)-based therapy provides the rationale basis for an effective antiangiogenic treatment. miRNAs are an evolutionarily conserved family of short RNAs, each regulating the expression of multiple protein-coding genes. The activity of specific miRNAs is important for vascular cell signaling and blood vessel formation and function. Recently, important progress has been made in mapping the miRNA-gene target network and miRNA-mediated gene expression control. Here we highlight the latest findings on angiogenic and antiangiogenic miRNAs and their targets as well as potential implications in ocular neovascular diseases. Emphasis is placed on how specific vascular-enriched miRNAs regulate cell responses to various cues by targeting several factors, receptors and/or signaling molecules in order to maintain either vascular function or dysfunction. Further improvement of our knowledge in not only miRNA specificity, turnover, and transport but also how miRNA sequences and functions can be altered will enhance the therapeutic utility of such molecules.


Angiogenesis; Endothelial cell; Ischemia; MircoRNA; Retinal neovascularization; Vascular endothelial growth factor

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