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Micro-RNAs in transplant tolerance

Harden, James, T.; Krams, Sheri, M.

Current Opinion in Organ Transplantation: February 2018 - Volume 23 - Issue 1 - p 66–72
doi: 10.1097/MOT.0000000000000479
TOLERANCE INDUCTION: Edited by Maria-Luisa Alegre
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Purpose of review Micro-RNAs (miRNAs) are highly conserved small RNA molecules that have selective gene-regulatory functions. This posttranscriptional regulation by miRNAs is critical for many immunological processes. Many developments in establishing the biological role of miRNAs in solid organ transplantation have been generated in the last decade. Discoveries of immune regulation by miRNAs, resulting in graft prolongation and transplant tolerance, are rapidly advancing and are the subject of this review.

Recent findings Many elegant experimental studies have revealed intriguing associations between transplant tolerance and specific miRNA profiles. These findings have provided insight into the miRNAs critical for sustaining immune suppression, and have revealed common miRNA pathways that should be further investigated and/or targeted therapeutically. Further reports have strategized and corroborated different methods of manipulating miRNA expression for prolonging allograft survival, yielding promising preclinical evidence of the efficacy of miRNA-based therapies.

Summary The review covers these recent developments in miRNA research that can revolutionize how we implement diagnostics and prognostics and how we can strategize transplantation therapies.

Division of Abdominal Transplantation, Department of Surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA

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

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