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MicroRNA regulation of macrophages in human pathologies

Wei, Yuanyuan, Schober, Andreas
Cellular and molecular life sciences 2016 v.73 no.18 pp. 3473-3495
apoptosis, atherosclerosis, cholesterol metabolism, genes, humans, infectious diseases, inflammation, macrophage activation, macrophages, microRNA, monocytes, neoplasms, pathogens, phagocytosis
Macrophages play a crucial role in the innate immune system and contribute to a broad spectrum of pathologies, like in the defence against infectious agents, in inflammation resolution, and wound repair. In the past several years, microRNAs (miRNAs) have been demonstrated to play important roles in immune diseases by regulating macrophage functions. In this review, we will summarize the role of miRNAs in the differentiation of monocytes into macrophages, in the classical and alternative activation of macrophages, and in the regulation of phagocytosis and apoptosis. Notably, miRNAs preferentially target genes related to the cellular cholesterol metabolism, which is of key importance for the inflammatory activation and phagocytic activity of macrophages. miRNAs functionally link various mechanisms involved in macrophage activation and contribute to initiation and resolution of inflammation. miRNAs represent promising diagnostic and therapeutic targets in different conditions, such as infectious diseases, atherosclerosis, and cancer.