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World J Gastroenterol. Sep 14, 2012; 18(34): 4629-4634
Published online Sep 14, 2012. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i34.4629
MicroRNAs in inflammatory bowel disease - pathogenesis, diagnostics and therapeutics
Mehmet Coskun, Jacob Tveiten Bjerrum, Jakob Benedict Seidelin, Ole Haagen Nielsen
Mehmet Coskun, Jacob Tveiten Bjerrum, Jakob Benedict Seidelin, Ole Haagen Nielsen, Department of Gastroenterology, Medical Section 54 O3, University of Copenhagen, Herlev Hospital, DK-2730 Herlev, Denmark
Mehmet Coskun, Jacob Tveiten Bjerrum, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, the Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark
Jakob Benedict Seidelin, Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Copenhagen, Bispebjerg Hospital, DK-2400 Copenhagen NV, Denmark
Author contributions: Coskun M analyzed the literature, wrote the manuscript and the final revision of the article; Bjerrum JT provided intellectual input, advice, and contributed to the writing and final revision of the manuscript; Seidelin JB and Nielsen OH contributed to the conceptual design, drafting of the manuscript and revising it critically for important intellectual content; and all authors approved the final submitted manuscript.
Supported by Grants from Fonden til Lægevidenskabens Fremme (the AP Møller Foundation); the Family Erichsen Memorial Foundation; the Lundbeck Foundation; the Axel Muusfeldts Foundation; and the Foundation of Aase and Ejnar Danielsen
Correspondence to: Mehmet Coskun, PhD, Department of Gastroenterology, Medical Section 54 O3, University of Copenhagen, Herlev Hospital, Herlev Ringvej 75, DK-2730 Herlev, Denmark. mehmet.coskun@regionh.dk
Telephone: +45-38-683421 Fax: +45-38-684009
Received: November 27, 2011
Revised: April 9, 2012
Accepted: April 20, 2012
Published online: September 14, 2012

The pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is complex and largely unknown. Until recently, research has focused on the study of protein regulators in inflammation to reveal the cellular and molecular networks in the pathogenesis of IBD. However, in the last few years, new and promising insights have been generated from studies describing an association between an altered expression of a specific class of non-coding RNAs, called microRNAs (miRs or miRNAs) and IBD. The short (approximately 22 nucleotides), endogenous, single-stranded RNAs are evolutionary conserved in animals and plants, and regulate specific target mRNAs at the post-transcriptional level. MiRNAs are involved in several biological processes, including development, cell differentiation, proliferation and apoptosis. Furthermore, it is estimated that miRNAs may be responsible for regulating the expression of nearly one-third of the genes in the human genome. Thus, miRNA deregulation often results in an impaired cellular function, and a disturbance of downstream gene regulation and signaling cascades, suggesting their implication in disease etiology. Despite the identification of more than 1900 mature human miRNAs, very little is known about their biological functions and functional targets. Recent studies have identified dysregulated miRNAs in tissue samples of IBD patients and have demonstrated similar differences in circulating miRNAs in the serum of IBD patients. Thus, there is great promise that miRNAs will aid in the early diagnosis of IBD, and in the development of personalized therapies. Here, we provide a short review of the current state-of-the-art of miRNAs in IBD pathogenesis, diagnostics and therapeutics.

Keywords: Biomarker, Crohn’s disease, Diagnostics, Inflammatory bowel disease, MicroRNA, Therapeutics, Ulcerative colitis