MicroRNAs and the genetic nexus of brain aging, neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration, and brain trauma

Saumyendra N. Sarkar, Ashley E. Russell, Elizabeth B. Engler-Chiurazzi, Keyana N. Porter, James W. Simpkins

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Aging is a complex and integrated gradual deterioration of cellular activities in specific organs of the body, which is associated with increased mortality. This deterioration is the primary risk factor for major human pathologies, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, neurovascular disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases. There are nine tentative hallmarks of aging. In addition, several of these hallmarks are increasingly being associated with acute brain injury conditions. In this review, we consider the genes and their functional pathways involved in brain aging as a means of developing new strategies for therapies targeted to the neuropathological processes themselves, but also as targets for many age-related brain diseases. A single microRNA (miR), which is a short, non-coding RNA species, has the potential for targeting many genes simultaneously and, like practically all other cellular processes, genes associated with many features of brain aging and injury are regulated by miRs. We highlight how certain miRs can mediate deregulation of genes involved in neuroinflammation, acute neuronal injury and chronic neurodegenerative diseases. Finally, we review the recent progress in the development of effective strategies to block specific miR functions and discuss future approaches with the prediction that anti-miR drugs may soon be used in the clinic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-352
Number of pages24
JournalAging and Disease
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cell Biology

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