Background: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a family of short non-coding RNAs that play important roles in posttranscriptional gene regulation. miRNAs inhibit target gene expression by blocking protein translation or by inducing mRNA degradation and therefore have the potential to modulate physiological and pathological processes. Summary: In the kidney, miRNAs play a role in the organogenesis and in the pathogenesis of several diseases, including renal carcinoma, diabetic nephropathy, cystogenesis, and glomerulopathies. Indeed, podocytes, but also the parietal cells of the Bowman capsule are severely affected by miRNA deregulation. In addition, several miRNAs have been found involved in the development of renal fibrosis. These experimental lines of evidence found a counterpart also in patients affected by diabetic and Ig-A nephropathies, opening the possibility of their use as biomarkers. Finally, the possibility to direct target-specific miRNA to prevent the development of renal fibrosis is encouraging potential novel therapies based on miRNA mimicking or antagonism. This review reports the main studies that investigate the role of miRNAs in the kidneys, in particular highlighting the experimental models used, their potential role as biomarkers and, finally, the most recent data on the miRNA-based therapy. Key Messages: miRNAs are crucial regulators of cell function. They are easy to detect and represent potentially good targets for novel therapies. (c) 2017 S. Karger AG, Basel
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