Noncoding microRNAs: small RNAs play a big role in regulation of ADME?

Research paper by Ai-Ming AM Yu, Yu-Zhuo YZ Pan

Indexed on: 12 Mar '20Published on: 01 Apr '12Published in: Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B


There are considerable interindividual variations in drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME) in humans, which may lead to undesired drug effects in pharmacotherapy. Some of the mechanistic causes are known, e.g., genetic polymorphism, inhibition and induction of ADME enzymes and transporters, while others such as posttranscriptional regulation of ADME genes are under active study. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a large group of small, noncoding RNAs that control posttranscriptional expression of target genes. More than 1000 miRNAs have been identified in the human genome, which may regulate thousands of protein-coding genes. Some miRNAs directly or indirectly control the expression of xenobiotic-metabolizing cytochrome P450 enzymes, ATP-binding cassette or solute carrier transporters and/or nuclear receptors. Consequently, intervention of miRNA epigenetic signaling may alter ADME gene expression, change the capacity of drug metabolism and transport, and influence the sensitivity of cells to xenobiotics. In addition, the expression of some ADME regulatory miRNAs is significantly changed in cells following the exposure to a given drug, and the consequent changes in ADME gene expression might result in distinct ADME properties and drug response. In this review, we summarized recent findings on the role of noncoding miRNAs in epigenetic regulation of ADME genes and discussed the potential impact on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.