MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression through targeting and suppression of mRNAs. miRNAs have been under investigation for the past twenty years and there is a large breadth of information on miRNAs in diseases such as cancer and immunology. Only more recently have miRNAs shown promise as a mechanism for intervention with respect to diseases of the bone and adipose tissue. In mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation, alterations in miRNA expression patterns can differentially promote an osteogenic, adipogenic, or myogenic phenotype. This manuscript reviews the current literature with respect to miRNAs in the context of MSC function with a particular focus on novel avenues for the examination of miRNA associated with bone and adipose tissue biology and disease. Specifically we highlight the need for a greater depth of investigation on MSCs with respect to miRNA biogenesis, processing, strand selection, and heterogeneity. We discuss how these mechanisms facilitate both altered miRNA expression and function.
- Heterotopic ossification
- Stem cell