MicroRNA in central nervous system trauma and degenerative disorders

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

75 Scopus citations


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a novel class of small noncoding RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression at the posttranscriptional level by binding to the 3=-untranslated region of target mRNAs leading to their translational inhibition or sometimes degradation. MiRNAs are predicted to control the activity of at least 20-30% of human protein-coding genes. Recent studies have demonstrated that miRNAs are highly expressed in the central nervous system (CNS) including the brain and spinal cord. Although we are currently in the initial stages of understanding how this novel class of gene regulators is involved in neurological biological functions, a growing body of exciting evidence suggests that miRNAs are important regulators of diverse biological processes such as cell differentiation, growth, proliferation, and apopto-sis. Moreover, miRNAs are key modulators of both CNS development and plasticity. Some miRNAs have been implicated in several neurological disorders such as traumatic CNS injuries and neurodegenerative diseases. Recently, several studies suggested the possibility of miRNA involvement in neurodegeneration. Identifying the roles of miRNAs and their target genes and signaling pathways in neurological disorders will be critical for future research. miRNAs may represent a new layer of regulators for neurobiology and a novel class of therapeutic targets for neurological diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-580
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiological Genomics
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 1 2011


  • Gene expression
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neurological disorders
  • Traumatic CNS injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics

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