Background: Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide. Understanding of gene
expression dynamics could bring new approaches in diagnostics and therapy of stroke. Small noncoding
molecules termed “microRNA” represent the most flexible network of gene expression regulators.
Method: The aim of this review was to briefly describe the structure and function of microRNA and
summarize the current knowledge about the involvement of microRNAs in the pathophysiology of
ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke based on both experimental and clinical studies.
Results: Numerous profiling studies identified candidate microRNAs and partially described dynamics
of their expression after the stroke. However, complex associations of specific microRNAs expression
with main clinical characteristics and deeper insight into mechanisms of their regulatory functions are
still missing. In this review, we put special emphasis on several microRNA clusters involved in neuroprotection
(miR-124, miR-181, miR-21, miR-29, miR-210 and let7). Potential application of microRNAs
as biomarkers and diagnostic or therapeutic targets was also discussed.
Conclusion: Full understanding of the regulatory mechanisms of the microRNA networks represents a
novel direction for stroke research. To date, we do not have effective tools to control pathophysiological
processes associated with stroke. Thus the microRNAs have to be considered as a very promising
target for future stroke therapies.