MicroRNAs in ankylosing spondylitis: Function, potential and challenges.
Motta F., Carena MC., Selmi C., Vecellio M.
Epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation, histone modifications and non-coding RNA, are considered the essential connection between a disorder's onset and the environment, on a permissive genetic background. Among autoimmune and inflammatory-mediated disorders, Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), a chronic arthritis of the spine, is a very good example for the weight of epigenetics' contribution. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are single-stranded nucleotides which regulate gene expression and are involved in pathological and physiological processes. In this manuscript we provide a clarification on the role of microRNAs in AS, with a focus on the mechanisms of pathogenesis. In specific, we have examined the contribution of miRNAs in the processes of inflammation, new bone formation and T-cell function, and the pathways (i.e. Wnt, BMP, TGFβ signalling etc.) they regulate. The utility of miRNAs in better understanding AS pathogenesis is undisputed and their utility as therapeutic opportunity is strongly increasing.