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Neudecker, Viola; Yuan, Xiaoyi; Bowser, Jessica L.; Eltzschig, Holger K. (2017): MicroRNAs in mucosal inflammation. In: Journal of Molecular Medicine-Jmm, Vol. 95, No. 9: pp. 935-949
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Of the total human body's surface, the majority is internal surface, belonging to the lungs (100m(2)) and intestinal tract (400 m(2)). In comparison, the external surface area, belonging to the skin, comprises less than 1% (2 m(2)). Continuous exposure of the mucosal surface to external factors (e.g., pathogens, food particles) requires tight regulation to maintain homeostasis. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have gained noticeable attention as playing important roles in maintaining the steady-state of tissues by modulating immune functions and inflammatory responses. Accordingly, associations have been found between miRNA expression levels and human health conditions and diseases. These findings have important implications in inflammatory diseases involving pulmonary and intestinal mucosa, such as acute lung injury or inflammatory bowel disease. In this review, we highlight the known biology of miRNAs and discuss the role of miRNAs in modulating mucosal defense and homeostasis. Additionally, we discuss miRNAs serving as potential therapeutic targets to treat immunological conditions, particularly mucosal inflammation.