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      Preclinical and Clinical Development of Noncoding RNA Therapeutics for Cardiovascular Disease

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          RNA modulation has become a promising therapeutic approach for the treatment of several types of disease. The emerging field of noncoding RNA-based therapies has now come to the attention of cardiovascular research, in which it could provide valuable advancements in comparison to current pharmacotherapy such as small molecule drugs or antibodies. In this review, we focus on noncoding RNA-based studies conducted mainly in large-animal models, including pigs, rabbits, dogs, and nonhuman primates. The obstacles and promises of targeting long noncoding RNAs and circRNAs as therapeutic modalities in humans are specifically discussed. We also describe novel ex vivo methods based on human cells and tissues, such as engineered heart tissues and living myocardial slices that could help bridging the gap between in vivo models and clinical applications in the future. Finally, we summarize antisense oligonucleotide drugs that have already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for targeting mRNAs and discuss the progress of noncoding RNA-based drugs in clinical trials. Additional factors, such as drug chemistry, drug formulations, different routes of administration, and the advantages of RNA-based drugs, are also included in the present review. Recently, first therapeutic miRNA-based inhibitory strategies have been tested in heart failure patients as well as healthy volunteers to study effects on wound healing (NCT04045405; NCT03603431). In summary, a combination of novel therapeutic RNA targets, large-animal models, ex vivo studies with human cells/tissues, and new delivery techniques will likely lead to significant progress in the development of noncoding RNA-based next-generation therapeutics for cardiovascular disease.

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          Most cited references 95

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          Dysregulation of microRNAs after myocardial infarction reveals a role of miR-29 in cardiac fibrosis.

          Acute myocardial infarction (MI) due to coronary artery occlusion is accompanied by a pathological remodeling response that includes hypertrophic cardiac growth and fibrosis, which impair cardiac contractility. Previously, we showed that cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure are accompanied by characteristic changes in the expression of a collection of specific microRNAs (miRNAs), which act as negative regulators of gene expression. Here, we show that MI in mice and humans also results in the dysregulation of specific miRNAs, which are similar to but distinct from those involved in hypertrophy and heart failure. Among the MI-regulated miRNAs are members of the miR-29 family, which are down-regulated in the region of the heart adjacent to the infarct. The miR-29 family targets a cadre of mRNAs that encode proteins involved in fibrosis, including multiple collagens, fibrillins, and elastin. Thus, down-regulation of miR-29 would be predicted to derepress the expression of these mRNAs and enhance the fibrotic response. Indeed, down-regulation of miR-29 with anti-miRs in vitro and in vivo induces the expression of collagens, whereas over-expression of miR-29 in fibroblasts reduces collagen expression. We conclude that miR-29 acts as a regulator of cardiac fibrosis and represents a potential therapeutic target for tissue fibrosis in general.
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            The evolution of lncRNA repertoires and expression patterns in tetrapods.

            Only a very small fraction of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are well characterized. The evolutionary history of lncRNAs can provide insights into their functionality, but the absence of lncRNA annotations in non-model organisms has precluded comparative analyses. Here we present a large-scale evolutionary study of lncRNA repertoires and expression patterns, in 11 tetrapod species. We identify approximately 11,000 primate-specific lncRNAs and 2,500 highly conserved lncRNAs, including approximately 400 genes that are likely to have originated more than 300 million years ago. We find that lncRNAs, in particular ancient ones, are in general actively regulated and may function predominantly in embryonic development. Most lncRNAs evolve rapidly in terms of sequence and expression levels, but tissue specificities are often conserved. We compared expression patterns of homologous lncRNA and protein-coding families across tetrapods to reconstruct an evolutionarily conserved co-expression network. This network suggests potential functions for lncRNAs in fundamental processes such as spermatogenesis and synaptic transmission, but also in more specific mechanisms such as placenta development through microRNA production.
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              MiR-33 contributes to the regulation of cholesterol homeostasis.

              Cholesterol metabolism is tightly regulated at the cellular level. Here we show that miR-33, an intronic microRNA (miRNA) located within the gene encoding sterol-regulatory element-binding factor-2 (SREBF-2), a transcriptional regulator of cholesterol synthesis, modulates the expression of genes involved in cellular cholesterol transport. In mouse and human cells, miR-33 inhibits the expression of the adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette (ABC) transporter, ABCA1, thereby attenuating cholesterol efflux to apolipoprotein A1. In mouse macrophages, miR-33 also targets ABCG1, reducing cholesterol efflux to nascent high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Lentiviral delivery of miR-33 to mice represses ABCA1 expression in the liver, reducing circulating HDL levels. Conversely, silencing of miR-33 in vivo increases hepatic expression of ABCA1 and plasma HDL levels. Thus, miR-33 appears to regulate both HDL biogenesis in the liver and cellular cholesterol efflux.

                Author and article information

                Circ Res
                Circ. Res
                Circulation Research
                Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
                28 February 2020
                27 February 2020
                : 126
                : 5
                : 663-678
                [1 ]From the Institute of Molecular and Translational Therapeutic Strategies (C.-K.H., S.K.-K., T.T.), Hannover Medical School, Germany.
                [2 ]REBIRTH Center of Translational Regenerative Medicine (T.T.), Hannover Medical School, Germany.
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: Thomas Thum, MD, PhD, FESC, FHFA, FAHA, Hannover Medical School, Institute of Molecular and Translational Therapeutic Strategies. Email thum.thomas@
                © 2020 The Authors.

                Circulation Research is published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original work is properly cited.

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