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Review Article

MicroRNAs: Key Players in Microglia and Astrocyte Mediated Inflammation in CNS Pathologies

[ Vol. 23 , Issue. 30 ]


Aparna Karthikeyan, Radhika Patnala, Shweta P. Jadhav, Ling Eng-Ang and S. Thameem Dheen   Pages 3528 - 3546 ( 19 )


The significance of microglia and astrocytes in neural development, in maintaining synaptic connections and homeostasis in the healthy brain is well established. Microglia are dynamic immune cells of the brain that elicit an immune response during brain damage and also participate in tissue repair and regeneration, while astrocytes contribute to the local inflammatory response by producing proinflammatory cytokines and resolving neuronal damage through production of anti-inflammatory cytokines and neurotrophic factors. Recent efforts have focused on elucidating the epigenetic mechanisms which regulate glial cell behavior in normal and pathologic states. An important class of epigenetic regulators is microRNAs (miRNAs) which are small non-coding RNA molecules that regulate gene expression posttranscriptionally. Certain dysregulated miRNAs contribute to chronic microglial inflammation in the brain, thereby leading to progression of neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic injury, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and stroke. Further, several miRNAs are differentially expressed in astrocytes after ischemia and spinal cord injury. Despite knowledge about miRNAs in neuroinflammation, little is known about effective delivery routes and pharmacokinetic data for miRNA based therapeutics. This review summarizes the current research on the role of miRNAs in promoting and inhibiting inflammatory response of microglia and astrocytes in a disease-specific manner. In addition, miRNA delivery as a therapeutic strategy to treat neuroinflammation is discussed.


Neuroinflammation, microglia, astrocytes, microRNAs, CNS pathologies, neurodegenerative disorders.


, , , , Department of Anatomy, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, MD10, 4 Medical Drive, Singapore 117594.

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