Long noncoding RNAs and cardiac disease.
SIGNIFICANCE: To maintain homeostasis, gene expression has to be tightly regulated by complex and multiple mechanisms occurring at the epigenetic, transcriptional, and post-transcriptional levels. One crucial regulatory component is represented by long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), nonprotein-coding RNA species implicated in all of these levels. Thus, lncRNAs have been associated with any given process or pathway of interest in a variety of systems, including the heart. Recent Advances: Mounting evidence implicates lncRNAs in cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and progression and their presence in the blood of heart disease patients indicates that they are attractive potential biomarkers. CRITICAL ISSUES: Our understanding of the regulation and molecular mechanisms of action of most lncRNAs remains rudimentary. A challenge is represented by their often low evolutionary sequence conservation that limits the use of animal models for preclinical studies. Nevertheless, a growing number of lncRNAs with an impact on heart function is rapidly accumulating. In this study, we will discuss (i) lncRNAs that control heart homeostasis and disease; (ii) concepts, approaches, and methodologies necessary to study lncRNAs in the heart; and (iii) challenges posed and opportunities presented by lncRNAs as potential therapeutic targets and biomarkers. FUTURE DIRECTIONS: A deeper knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underpinning CVDs is necessary to develop more effective treatments. Further studies are needed to clarify the regulation and function of lncRNAs in the heart before they can be considered as therapeutic targets and disease biomarkers. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 29, 880-901.