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Keywords:

  • Mesenchymal stem cells;
  • Marrow stromal stem cells;
  • microRNA

Abstract

Multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are ideal candidates for different cellular therapies due to their simple isolation, extensive expansion potential, and low immunogenicity. For various therapeutic approaches, such as bone and cartilage repair, MSCs are expected to contribute by direct differentiation to replace the damaged tissue, while many other applications rely on the secretion of paracrine factors which modulate the immune response and promote angiogenesis. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), which target messenger RNA for cleavage or translational repression, have recently been shown to play critical functions in MSC to regulate differentiation, paracrine activity, and other cellular properties such as proliferation, survival, and migration. The global miRNA expression profile of MSC varies according to the tissue of origin, species, and detection methodology, while also certain miRNAs are consistently found in all types of MSC. The function in MSC of more than 60 different miRNAs has been recently described, which is the subject of this review. A special emphasis is given to miRNAs that have demonstrated a function in MSC in vivo. We also present in detail miRNAs with overlapping effects (i.e., common target genes) and discuss future directions to deepen our understanding of miRNA biology in MSC. These recent discoveries have opened the possibility of modulating miRNAs in MSC, in order to enhance their proregenerative, therapeutic potential. Stem Cells 2014;32:1074–1082