Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) are an important source of morbidity and mortality in the U.S. and worldwide. Treatment options are limited, with open surgery or endovascular repair remaining the only curative treatments. Classical cardiovascular medications have generally failed to prevent or significantly alter AAA formation or progression. Therefore, there is a tremendous need for better therapeutic approaches. With increasing knowledge of microRNA (miR) regulation in the context of cardiovascular disease, and with improving technical options permitting alteration of miRexpression levels in vitro and in vivo, we are offered a glimpse into the diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities of using miRs to treat vascular pathobiology.
This review focuses on the role of miRs in aneurysmal disease of the abdominal aorta, summarizing recent publications regarding this topic, and outlining known effects of relevant miRs in AAA formation, including miR-21 and miR-29b. Despite there being only limited studies available, several other miRs also display clear potential for alteration of the disease process including miR-26a, the miR-17-92-cluster, miRs-221/222, miR-133 and miR-146a. While studies have shown that miRs can regulate the activity and interplay of vascular inflammatory cells, endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts, all key elements leading to AAA formation, much work remains to be done.
Keywords: Abdominal aortic aneurysms, endovascular repair, cardiovascular medications, therapeutic approaches, microRNA, vascular pathobiology.
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