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Med. Weter. 73 (3), 156-165, 2017

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Karolina A. Chodkowska, Tomasz Sadkowski, Piotr Ostaszewski
MicroRNA function in domestic animal physiology and diseases: a promising diagnostic tool for veterinary use
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding interfering RNA molecules capable of post-transcriptionally regulating gene expression through sequence-specific base pairing to messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA). In recent years, hundreds of miRNAs have been identified in humans, various animals and plants. The action of miRNAs has been examined in several biological processes, including tissue morphogenesis, development, cell proliferation and differentiation, apoptosis, immunity, metabolism, and major signaling pathways. Changes in miRNA expression have also been analyzed in the context of various pathological conditions, including different kinds of inflammation, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, etc. Thanks to these investigations, several miRNAs have been identified as potential sensitive diagnostic markers that may be important in monitoring physiological and pathological processes. In human medicine, microarray and real-time PCR-based diagnostic test panels with selected disease-specific miRNAs are increasingly used to predict disease occurrence or progression. In animals, they are mainly used to diagnose canine mammary cancers and infectious diseases, as well as to monitor reproduction. Until now, only few miRNAs of domestic animals have been studied in detail. Moreover, the silencing of selected miRNAs, successfully used in human medicine in diseases related to miRNA over-expression, is also emerging as a promising tool for veterinary medicine and animal breeding. This review presents recent progress in miRNA biology in various domestic animals and shows the current state of knowledge concerning miRNAs and their potential role as a diagnostic factor in veterinary sciences.
Key words: miRNA, domestic animals, physiology, cancer, breeding