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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2014, Article ID 275867, 14 pages
Review Article

MicroRNAs Involved in the Lipid Metabolism and Their Possible Implications for Atherosclerosis Development and Treatment

1International Clinical Research Center, Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, St. Anne's University Hospital Brno, Pekarska 53, 656 91, Brno, Czech Republic
2Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, Kamenice 5, Building A20, 625 00 Brno, Czech Republic
3Department of Pathological Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, Kamenice 5, Building A18, 625 00 Brno, Czech Republic

Received 15 November 2013; Revised 21 March 2014; Accepted 3 April 2014; Published 24 April 2014

Academic Editor: Jana Petrkova

Copyright © 2014 Jan Novák et al. 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.


Hyperlipidemia is a well-accepted risk factor in the development of atherosclerosis. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a novel class of posttranscriptional regulators of gene expression, are involved in a variety of biological and pathological processes, including the regulation of the lipid metabolism and atherosclerosis. As our knowledge of miRNAs expands, a new class of “circulating miRNAs” has recently been described. It includes miRNAs which may be found in various bodily fluids packaged in microvesicles/exosomes, or bound to specific transporting proteins. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles have been identified as one such carrier. As this class of miRNAs likely plays a role in intercellular communication, it may also contribute to the atherosclerosis development and progression. This review aims to provide a comprehensive explanation of the roles of distinct miRNAs involved in the regulation of the lipid metabolism. These microRNAs seem to be promising therapeutic agents, as documented in rodents and African green monkeys. The second part of the review focuses on circulating miRNAs and their involvement in the atherosclerosis, especially as their levels have been described as altered in patients with dyslipidemia/hyperlipidemia. Special emphasis is placed on miRNAs transported in a complex with HDL particles and on those which may be considered potential atherosclerosis biomarkers.