miRNAs and Erythropoietic Stimulating Agents: a New Therapeutic Approach
Pp. 43-60 (18)
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenously produced as a family of a small
noncoding RNAs encoded by intergenic chromosomal regions that must be processed and
matured to target a specific mRNA causing translational repression or mRNA degradation.
MicroRNAs play essential functions in many biological processes and their deregulation is
associated with pathologies, such as erythropoiesis. Erythropoietin (EPO) promotes the
proliferation and differentiation of erythroid precursor cells, and requires the interaction
with the EPO receptor and the presence of transcription factors. Erythropoietic stimulating
agents are clinically used to improve erythropoietin production and relieve anaemia, which
is a hallmark of several diseases. At defined stages of erythropoiesis, the expression of
specific miRNAs promotes stem cell proliferation or erythroid cell differentiation. There
are currently several approaches to silence, replace or mimetic miRNAs, making them
potential tools for gene therapy. In addition, miRNAs may be used as diagnostic and
prognostic biomarkers as well as therapeutic targets.
miRNAs, erythropoietic stimulating agents, erythropoietin,
Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology and Biochemistry Laboratory, Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto, Rua Jorge Viterbo Ferreira, 228, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal.