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MicroRNAs as master regulators of immune responses in transplant recipients

Kaul, Vandana; Krams, Sheri

Current Opinion in Organ Transplantation: February 2015 - Volume 20 - Issue 1 - p 29–36
doi: 10.1097/MOT.0000000000000148
MECHANISMS OF REJECTION: Edited by Jerzy W. Kupiec-Weglinski

Purpose of review MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as highly evolutionarily conserved moieties that have very selective gene-regulatory functions. miRNAs are being researched for their use as potential biomarkers for diagnostics, routine prognostics as well as selective therapeutics in cancer, infectious diseases, autoimmune disorders and transplantation. This review summarizes how immune regulation by miRNAs affects the outcome of transplantation.

Recent findings Many miRNAs have been identified as selective markers for specific disease states and transplant conditions in the past two decades. In this review, we will discuss the recent advances and some seminal discoveries in miRNA research and their role as immune regulators in transplantation. Lastly, we will highlight the ongoing clinical trials for miRNA-based therapeutics for clinical applications and present our opinion on the future of miRNA-based diagnostics and therapeutics.

Summary miRNA-based diagnosis is a fast-moving field with new miRNA signatures being identified each day. Recent advances have also been successful at taking a few of these miRNAs to clinical trials for therapeutic interventions.

Department of Surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA

Correspondence to Sheri Krams, Stanford University School of Medicine, 1201 Welch Road, MSLS P313, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. Tel: +1 650 498 6246; e-mail:

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.