MicroRNAs are small noncoding RNAs that have emerged as important regulators of many biological and pathological processes, including those relevant to the development of the heart and cardiovascular disease. Several recent studies using genetic models and profiling of microRNAs have established the important role of these novel molecules in a number of conditions of the heart. These studies have led to a flurry of research focussing on the identification of new therapeutic targets for the treatment of cardiac disease, as well as the identification of potential biomarkers for early diagnosis of heart disease. These early reports have stimulated much interest in microRNAs and indeed other non-coding RNAs in the broader context of cardiovascular disease. This work has been further investigated as a result of ease with which the levels of these molecules can be modulated both in vitro but also in animal disease models. Furthermore, a number of studies have specifically looked at the prognostic potential of these microRNAs as biomarkers of cardiovascular disease. This review is focused on highlighting some of the novel aspects of recent research in the area of the development of new therapeutics and better diagnostics for cardiovascular disease.
JDRF Danielle Alberti Memorial Centre for Diabetes Complications, Diabetes Division, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, 75 Commercial Road, Melbourne 3004, Australia