MicroRNA-21 (miR-21) expression is activated in multiple types of cancers, such as breast, liver, brain, prostate, myometrial cancers but also in cardiovascular disease. MiR-21 regulates a plethora of target proteins which are involved in cellular survival, apoptosis and cell invasiveness. MiR-21 regulation is complex due to an own promoter that is target for various transcription factors and hormones. The consistent miR-21 overexpression under pathophysiological conditions points to miR-21 as a valuable tool for new therapeutic strategies. In this review, we present and analyze current data about miR-21 expression in various pathologies ranging from cancer to cardiovascular disease. Further, miR- 21 regulatory mechanisms and miR-21 downstream targets are discussed. Finally, we highlight the particular role of miR- 21 as a therapeutic target in various diseases.
micro-RNAs, miR-21, cancer, cardiovascular disease
Hannover Medical School, Institute for Molecular and Translational Therapeutic Strategies, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany.