Cardiovascular disease-related miRNAs expression: potential role as biomarkers and effects of training exercise

Simona Ultimo, Giorgio Zauli, Alberto M. Martelli, Marco Vitale, James A. McCubrey, Silvano Capitani and Luca M. Neri _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:17238-17254. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.24428

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Simona Ultimo1, Giorgio Zauli1, Alberto M. Martelli2, Marco Vitale3,4, James A. McCubrey5, Silvano Capitani1 and Luca M. Neri1

1Department of Morphology, Surgery and Experimental Medicine, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy

2Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

3Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Parma, Italy

4CoreLab, Azienda Ospedaliero, Universitaria di Parma, Parma, Italy

5Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA

Correspondence to:

Luca M. Neri, email: [email protected]

Silvano Capitani, email: [email protected]

Keywords: cardiovascular diseases; sport exercise; aging; miRNAs; biomarkers

Received: December 26, 2017     Accepted: January 20, 2018     Published: March 30, 2018


Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are one of the most important causes of mortality worldwide, therefore the need of effective preventive strategies is imperative. Aging is associated with significant changes in both cardiovascular structure and function that lower the threshold for clinical signs and symptoms, making older people more susceptible to CVDs morbidity and mortality.

microRNAs (miRNAs) modulate gene expression at post-transcriptional level and increasing evidence has shown that miRNAs are involved in cardiovascular physiology and in the pathogenesis of CVDs.

Physical activity is recommended by the medical community and the cardiovascular benefits of exercise are multifactorial and include important systemic effects on skeletal muscle, the peripheral vasculature, metabolism, and neuroendocrine systems, as well as beneficial modifications within the myocardium itself.

In this review we describe the role of miRNAs and their dysregulation in several types of CVDs. We provide an overview of miRNAs in CVDs and of the effects of physical activity on miRNA regulation involved in both cardiovascular pathologies and age-related cardiovascular changes and diseases.

Circulating miRNAs in response to acute and chronic sport exercise appear to be modulated following training exercise, and may furthermore serve as potential biomarkers for CVDs and different age-related CVDs.

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