Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) include a heterogeneous group of clonal hematological stem cell disorders characterized by ineffective hematopoiesis, cytopenias. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNA molecules that repress gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. In this review, we summarize advanced investigations that underscore deregulated miRNA expression in MDS, and discuss the implications of miRNAs in the molecular pathogenesis of MDS.
Relevant English-language literatures were searched and retrieved from PubMed using the terms MDS and miRNAs.
The majority of studies have focused on profiling miRNA expression in MDS, only a small number of studies have investigated the exact pathogenic role of miRNAs in MDS.
In the hematopoietic system, miRNAs are critical regulators of the differentiation of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells. Thus, it is not surprising that dysregulation of miRNAs can lead to hematopoietic stem cell anomalies and further cause MDS. Deregulated miRNA expression has been identified in MDS, and it contributes to the pathogenesis and progression of MDS. Chromosomal aberrations, hypermethylation of miRNA promoters, and mutations of miRNA genes may lead to dysregulation of miRNA in MDS. However, the complex regulatory networks between miRNAs and their potential target genes in MDS still need to be explored in further studies.
Although the function of miRNAs is not fully understood, these small non-coding RNAs represent novel pathogenetic and clinical implications in MDS. The studies of miRNAs may guide us towards a better understanding of this disease and shed light on the development of new therapeutic strategies.