MicroRNAs in Type 1 Diabetes: Complex Interregulation of the Immune System, β Cell Function and Viral Infections

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Current diabetes reports


Since the discovery of the first mammalian microRNA (miRNA) more than two decades ago, a plethora of miRNAs has been identified in humans, now amounting to more than 2500. Essential for post-transcriptional regulation of gene networks integral for developmental pathways and immune response, it is not surprising that dysregulation of miRNAs is often associated with the aetiology of complex diseases including cancer, diabetes and autoimmune disorders. Despite massive expansion of small RNA studies and extensive investigation in diverse disease contexts, the role of miRNAs in type 1 diabetes has only recently been explored. Key studies using human islets have recently implicated virus-induced miRNA dysregulation as a pivotal mechanism of β cell destruction, while the interplay between miRNAs, the immune system and β cell survival has been illustrated in studies using animal and cellular models of disease. The role of specific miRNAs as major players in immune system homeostasis highlights their exciting potential as therapeutics and prognostic biomarkers of type 1 diabetes.

Medical Subject Headings

Animals; Autoimmune Diseases; Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1; Enterovirus Infections; Gene Expression Regulation; Humans; Immune System; Insulin-Secreting Cells; MicroRNAs; Neoplasms; Virus Replication

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