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Stem Cells International
Volume 2015, Article ID 194894, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/194894
Review Article

The Role of MicroRNAs in Cardiac Stem Cells

Department of Physiology-Heart Otago, Otago School of Medical Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin 9010, New Zealand

Received 25 October 2014; Revised 14 December 2014; Accepted 5 January 2015

Academic Editor: Joost P. G. Sluijter

Copyright © 2015 Nima Purvis 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.

Abstract

Stem cells are considered as the next generation drug treatment in patients with cardiovascular disease who are resistant to conventional treatment. Among several stem cells used in the clinical setting, cardiac stem cells (CSCs) which reside in the myocardium and epicardium of the heart have been shown to be an effective option for the source of stem cells. In normal circumstances, CSCs primarily function as a cell store to replace the physiologically depleted cardiovascular cells, while under the diseased condition they have been shown to experimentally regenerate the diseased myocardium. In spite of their major functional role, molecular mechanisms regulating the CSCs proliferation and differentiation are still unknown. MicroRNAs (miRs) are small, noncoding RNA molecules that regulate gene expression at the posttranscriptional level. Recent studies have demonstrated the important role of miRs in regulating stem cell proliferation and differentiation, as well as other physiological and pathological processes related to stem cell function. This review summarises the current understanding of the role of miRs in CSCs. A deeper understanding of the mechanisms by which miRs regulate CSCs may lead to advances in the mode of stem cell therapies for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.