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International Journal of Vascular Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 794898, 13 pages
Review Article

MicroRNAs in Vascular Biology

Department of Medicine, Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Box CVRI, Rochester, NY 14642, USA

Received 1 July 2012; Revised 17 August 2012; Accepted 21 August 2012

Academic Editor: Ken-ichi Aihara

Copyright © 2012 Munekazu Yamakuchi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Vascular inflammation is an important component of the pathophysiology of cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, and aneurysms. All vascular cells, including endothelial cells (ECs) and vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), and infiltrating cells, such as macrophages, orchestrate a series of pathological events. Despite dramatic improvements in the treatment of atherosclerosis, the molecular basis of vascular inflammation is not well understood. In the last decade, microRNAs (miRNAs) have been revealed as novel regulators of vascular inflammation. Each miRNAs suppresses a set of genes, forming complex regulatory network. This paper provides an overview of current advances that have been made in revealing the roles of miRNAs during vascular inflammation. Recent studies show that miRNAs not only exist inside cells but also circulate in blood. These circulating miRNAs are useful biomarkers for diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, recent studies demonstrate that circulating miRNAs are delivered into certain recipient cells and act as messengers. These studies suggest that miRNAs provide new therapeutic opportunities.