Background: Dementia cases are increasing as the population ages, leading to increased financial
costs. Several neuronal diseases including ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke involve cerebrovascular
injury or pathophysiology. Cerebrovascular injury is closely tied to blood brain barrier
(BBB) disruption. Many studies have shown a significant association between BBB dysfunction and
neurological diseases. Therefore, an understanding of the molecular mechanisms which regulate BBB
permeability and disruption is essential for establishing future therapeutic strategies to alter dementia
disease progression related to cerebrovascular injury, so-called vascular cognitive impairment (VCI).
microRNAs (miRs) are small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression through targeting of
mRNA transcripts. miRs have been implicated in the development and progression of various illnesses,
including vascular disease. However, the role of miRs in BBB breakdown or permeability and VCI development
has not yet been well clarified.
Method: Research content related to the origins of VCI and the role of the BBB in pathologic development
and therapeutic targeting are reviewed, including current relevant animal models. We draw
from the published literature regarding microRNA candidates that are associated with modulation of
BBB structure and function.
Results: In this review, we summarize the current knowledge about VCI, explore the potential role of
miRs in BBB breakdown and VCI progression, and identify potential candidate miRs for development
of new treatment strategies.
Conclusion: miRs constitute a promising novel avenue as future therapeutic options for alteration of
both BBB permeability and development of VCI.