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    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a group of small RNAs that control gene expression in all aspects of eukaryotic life, primarily through RNA silencing mechanisms. The purpose of the present review is to introduce key miRNAs involved in periodontal homeostasis, summarize the mechanisms by which they affect downstream genes and tissues, and provide an introduction into the therapeutic potential of periodontal miRNAs. In general, miRNAs function synergistically to fine-tune the regulation of biological processes and to remove expression noise rather than by causing drastic changes in expression levels. In the periodontium, miRNAs play key roles in development and periodontal homeostasis and during the loss of periodontal tissue integrity as a result of periodontal disease. As part of the anabolic phase of periodontal homeostasis and periodontal development, miRNAs direct periodontal fibroblasts toward alveolar bone lineage differentiation and new bone formation through WNT, bone morphogenetic protein, and Notch signaling pathways. miRNAs contribute equally to the catabolic aspect of periodontal homeostasis as they affect osteoclastogenesis and osteoclast function, either by directly promoting osteoclast activity or by inhibiting osteoclast signaling intermediaries or through negative feedback loops. Their small size and ability to target multiple regulatory networks of related sets of genes have predisposed miRNAs to become ideal candidates for drug delivery and tissue regeneration. To address the immense therapeutic potential of miRNAs and their antagomirs, an ever growing number of delivery approaches toward clinical applications have been developed, including nanoparticle carriers and secondary structure interference inhibitor systems. However, only a fraction of the miRNAs involved in periodontal health and disease are known today. It is anticipated that continued research will lead to a more comprehensive understanding of the periodontal miRNA world, and a systematic effort toward harnessing the enormous therapeutic potential of these small molecules will greatly benefit the future of periodontal patient care.

    Citation

    X Luan, X Zhou, J Trombetta-eSilva, M Francis, A K Gaharwar, P Atsawasuwan, T G H Diekwisch. MicroRNAs and Periodontal Homeostasis. Journal of dental research. 2017 May;96(5):491-500

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    PMID: 28068481

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