Chapter 3

miRNAs and Erythropoietic Stimulating Agents: a New Therapeutic Approach

Elsa Bronze-da-Rocha

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenously produced as a family of a small noncoding RNAs encoded by intergenic chromosomal regions that must be processed and matured to target a specific mRNA causing translational repression or mRNA degradation. MicroRNAs play essential functions in many biological processes and their deregulation is associated with pathologies, such as erythropoiesis. Erythropoietin (EPO) promotes the proliferation and differentiation of erythroid precursor cells, and requires the interaction with the EPO receptor and the presence of transcription factors. Erythropoietic stimulating agents are clinically used to improve erythropoietin production and relieve anaemia, which is a hallmark of several diseases. At defined stages of erythropoiesis, the expression of specific miRNAs promotes stem cell proliferation or erythroid cell differentiation. There are currently several approaches to silence, replace or mimetic miRNAs, making them potential tools for gene therapy. In addition, miRNAs may be used as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers as well as therapeutic targets.

Total Pages: 43-60 (18)

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