Review Article

Circular noncoding RNAs as potential therapies and circulating biomarkers for cardiovascular diseases

Ahmed S BAYOUMI1, Tatsuya AONUMA1, Jian-peng TEOH1, Yao-liang TANG1,2, Il-man KIM1,3
1 Vascular Biology Center, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University, GA 30912, USA
2 Department of Medicine, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University, GA 30912, USA
3 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University, GA 30912, USA
Correspondence to: Il-man KIM:,
DOI: 10.1038/aps.2017.196
Received: 3 November 2017
Accepted: 21 December 2017
Advance online: 22 May 2018


Recent advancements in genome-wide analyses and RNA-sequencing technologies led to the discovery of small noncoding RNAs, such as microRNAs (miRs), as well as both linear long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) and circular long noncoding RNAs (circRNAs). The importance of miRs and lncRNAs in the treatment, prognosis and diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) has been extensively reported. We also previously reviewed their implications in therapies and as biomarkers for CVDs. More recently, circRNAs have also emerged as important regulators in CVDs. CircRNAs are circular genome products that are generated by back splicing of specific regions of pre-messenger RNAs (pre-mRNAs). Growing interest in circRNAs led to the discovery of a wide array of their pathophysiological functions. CircRNAs have been shown to be key regulators of CVDs such as myocardial infarction, atherosclerosis, cardiomyopathy and cardiac fibrosis. Accordingly, circRNAs have been recently proposed as potential therapeutic targets and biomarkers for CVDs. In this review, we summarize the current state of the literature on circRNAs, starting with their biogenesis and global mechanisms of actions. We then provide a synopsis of their involvement in various CVDs. Lastly, we emphasize the great potential of circRNAs as biomarkers for the early detection of CVDs, and discuss several patents and recent papers that highlight the utilization of circRNAs as promising biomarkers.
Keywords: atherosclerosis; biomarkers; cardiac fibrosis; cardiomyopathy; circular RNAs; heart failure; myocardial infarction; noncoding RNAs

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