MicroRNAs: potential regulators of airway smooth muscle cell plasticity involved in asthma-induced airway remodeling

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Background: Airway remodeling, which is fundamentally disordered in asthma, is related to the severity of asthma and poor response to current therapies. During airway remodeling, airway smooth muscle cells are not simply target cells, but participate actively in enhancing airway remodeling through changes induced by cellular plasticity.

Objective: We indicated that microRNAs, a class of regulatory non-coding RNAs, could regulate cellular plasticity at the posttranscriptional level. Here, we discuss the roles of microRNAs as regulators of plasticity in airway smooth muscle cells and possible mechanisms by which microRNAs modulate airway.

Methods: We conducted a literature search using the MEDLINE (PubMed) databases using the keywords “asthma”, “microRNAs”, “airway remodeling”, and “cellular plasticity”. Only articles published in English were included in the review.

Results: MicroRNAs, which regulated cellular plasticity in airway smooth muscle cells, was shown to modulate airway remodeling in asthma through different mechanisms.

Conclusion: MicroRNAs can be expected to be developed into a novel treatment strategy for reversing airway remodeling in patients with asthma.

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