MicroRNAs as paracrine signaling mediators in cancers and metabolic diseases

Akiko Matsuda, Irene K. Yan, Catherine Foye, Mansi Parasramka, Tushar Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The contribution of microRNAs to the regulation of mRNA expression during physiological and developmental processes are well-recognized. These roles are being expanded by recent observations that emphasize the capability of miRNA to participate in inter-cellular signaling and communication. Several factors support a functional role for miRNA as mediators of cell-to-cell signaling. miRNA are able to exist within the extracellular milieu or circulation, and their stability and integrity maintained through association with binding proteins or lipoproteins, or through encapsulation within cell-derived membrane vesicles. Furthermore, miRNA can retain functionality and regulate target gene expression following their uptake by recipient cells. In this overview, we review specific examples that will highlight the potential of miRNA to serve as paracrine signaling mediators in metabolic diseases and cancers. Elucidating the mechanisms involved in inter-cellular communication involving miRNA will provide new insights into disease pathogenesis and potential therapeutic opportunities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-590
Number of pages14
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • cancer microenvironment
  • cell–cell communication
  • extracellular vesicles
  • metabolic disorders
  • miRNAs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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