MicroRNAs and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Matthias Hübenthal, Andre Franke, Simone Lipinski, Simonas Juzėnas
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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) represent a class of short, noncoding RNAs that act as posttranscriptional regulators of gene expression. Being implicated in numerous physiologic processes, miRNAs are believed to play a critical role in the etiology of a variety of diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In the course of this chapter, we elaborate on the pivotal role of miRNAs in regard to the development of innate and adaptive immune cells as well as their response to inflammatory signals. Furthermore, we summarize current knowledge on miRNAs as modulators of intestinal homeostasis and autophagy as well as regulators of epithelial barrier integrity. In recent past, miRNAs emerged as a new class of putative biomarkers detectable in a wide range of tissues and body fluids. We review current studies on miRNAs and report estimates for their clinical utility, suggesting these molecules being competitive or even superior to traditional serological IBD biomarkers.