Indexed on: 10 Sep '14Published on: 10 Sep '14Published in: Nature Reviews Cardiology
Cardiac stress leads to remodelling of cardiac tissue, which often progresses to heart failure and death. Part of the remodelling process is the formation of fibrotic tissue, which is caused by exaggerated activity of cardiac fibroblasts leading to excessive extracellular matrix production within the myocardium. Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) are a diverse group of endogenous RNA-based molecules, which include short (∼22 nucleotides) microRNAs and long ncRNAs (of >200 nucleotides). These ncRNAs can regulate important functions in many cardiovascular cells types. This Review focuses on the role of ncRNAs in cardiac fibrosis; specifically, ncRNAs as therapeutic targets, factors for direct fibroblast transdifferentation, their use as diagnostic and prognostic markers, and their potential to function as paracrine modulators of cardiac fibrosis and remodelling.