MicroRNA epigenetics: a new avenue for wound healing research.
Bavan L., Midwood K., Nanchahal J.
A group of small non-coding RNA molecules, termed microRNAs (miRNAs), have generated considerable interest in recent years due to their central role in a growing number of biologic processes. Serving as post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression, miRNAs have also emerged as critical factors in the pathogenesis of many diseases. As a result, they show great potential as accurate diagnostic and prognostic markers, as well as viable therapeutic targets for treating disease. It has been proposed that miRNAs play a significant role in cutaneous wound repair and that aberrant miRNA expression may result in disorganized or poor healing. Specific patterns of miRNA expression have been identified in wound healing models. miRNAs are important regulators of leucocyte function and the cytokine network, and are necessary for endothelial cell migration and capillary formation. These molecules also control proliferation and differentiation of wound-specific cells and can determine extracellular matrix composition. This article reviews the evidence for miRNA regulation of inflammation, angiogenesis, fibroblast function, keratinocyte function, and apoptosis, which are essential components for effective wound repair. The future potential for improving wound healing outcomes using miRNA-based therapies is also discussed.