Emerging role of microRNAs and long noncoding RNAs in respiratory disease

R. Booton, M.A. Lindsay

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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The advent of techniques such as microarrays and high-throughput sequencing has revolutionizedour ability to examine messenger RNA (mRNA) expression within the respiratorysystem. Importantly, these approaches have also uncovered the widespread expression of'noncoding RNAs,' including microRNAs and long noncoding RNAs, which impact biologicresponses through the regulation of mRNA transcription and/or translation. To date, moststudies of the role of noncoding RNAs have focused on microRNAs, which regulate mRNAtranslation via the RNA interference pathway. These studies have shown changes in microRNAexpression in cells and tissues derived from patients with asthma, pulmonary fi brosis, cysticfi brosis, COPD, and non-small cell lung cancer. Although the evidence is currently limited, wereview the work that has been carried out in cell and animal models that has identifi ed thefunction and mechanism of action of a small number of these microRNAs in disease etiology.In addition to microRNAs, we assess the emerging evidence that long noncoding RNAs regulaterespiratory phenotype. Because these investigations into long noncoding RNAs wereperformed almost exclusively in non-small cell lung cancer, future work will need to extendthese into other respiratory diseases and to analyze how microRNAs and long noncoding RNAsinteract to regulate mRNA expression. From a clinical perspective, the targeting of noncodingRNAs as a novel therapeutic approach will require a deeper understanding of their functionand mechanism of action. However, in the short term, changes in miRNA and long noncodingRNA expression are likely to be of use as biomarkers for disease stratifi cation and/or assessmentof drug action.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-204
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


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