Next-generation sequencing has greatly improved our knowledge of the mammalian transcriptome, identifying thousands of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), which are RNAs that rather than translate for proteins, have regulatory functions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, dysregulation of individual ncRNAs has been associated with the development of pathologies, including of the cardiovascular system. The best-characterized group of ncRNAs is represented by the short, highly conserved RNAs named microRNAs (miRNAs). This ncRNA species, which principally exerts an inhibitory action on gene expression, has been implicated in many cardiovascular diseases. Unfortunately, the complexity of action of other types of ncRNA, such as long ncRNAs, has somewhat hampered the study of their role in cardiovascular pathologies. A detailed characterization of the mechanism of action of these different ncRNA species would be conducive to a better understanding of the cellular processes underlying cardiovascular disease and may lead to the development of innovative therapeutic strategies. Here, we give an overview of the current knowledge on the function of ncRNAs and their roles in cardiovascular disease development, concentrating mainly on microRNAs and long ncRNAs.
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