Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) have gained the attention of molecular biologists and clinicians alike because of the increasing evidence implicating their role in many biological processes and in the development of diseases. In addition to small microRNAs (miRNAs) that play major roles in the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression, more recently long ncRNAs (lncRNAs, >200 nucleotides) are recognized as being intimately involved in the key cellular processes including transcription and mRNA expression, and having functions in cellular development, differentiation, and development of disease. LncRNAs represent a diverse class of RNAs with many known and likely yet to be discovered functions. This review aims to summarize the emerging roles of lncRNAs in vascular development and disease.
LncRNAs have been recently described to play a role in vascular development, lineage commitment, and in mesoderm differentiation into heart. Additionally, lncRNAs have been associated with angiotensin II actions and with vascular diseases, including coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis. miRNAs, well studied in various vascular diseases, have also been recently shown to be differentially expressed in the biofluids of patients with vascular disease and mediate cell–cell communication.
LncRNAs may mediate many different pathways in growth factor actions, vascular development and disease, and are worthy of further investigation because of their potential to serve as novel therapeutic targets.
Department of Diabetes, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Duarte, California, USA
Correspondence to Rama Natarajan, PhD, Department of Diabetes, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, 1500 East Duarte Road, Duarte, CA 91010, USA. Tel: +1 626 256 4673, ext. 62289; fax: +1 626 301 8136; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org