MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are defined as a group of endogenous single-stranded noncoding RNAs that have the ability to downregulate gene expression. Recent research suggests that microRNAs (miRNAs) have a critical role in regulating the self-renewal and differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). MSCs, isolated from various adult tissue sources, are able to differentiate into multiple lineages, which are regulated by genetic and epigenetic mechanisms. Adipose- derived stem cells (ADSCs), originating from the vasculature of adipose tissue, share many properties of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs). With advantages in both method and quantity of acquisition, ADSCs have become an alternative source of seeding cells. It has been shown that a complex system including various growth factors, transcription factors and signaling pathways could temporally control and regulate MSC differentiation into certain types of mature cells. This review briefly summarizes the biology of miRNAs and ADSCs. We then provide basic information regarding the molecular mechanisms of miRNA regulation in MSC differentiation and discuss several examples of that regulation in ADSC differentiation. Last, we provide perspectives on the progress in identification of the functions of miRNAs in ADSC differentiation.
Keywords: Adipose-derived stem cells, differentiation, mesenchymal stem cells, miRNA, molecular mechanisms, signaling pathway.