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Non-coding RNAs and Hypertension–Unveiling Unexpected Mechanisms of Hypertension by the Dark Matter of the Genome

[ Vol. 11 , Issue. 2 ]


Kazuo Murakami   Pages 80 - 90 ( 11 )


Hypertension is a major risk factor of cardiovascular diseases and a most important health problem in developed countries. Investigations on pathophysiology of hypertension have been based on gene products from coding region that occupies only about 1% of total genome region. On the other hand, non-coding region that occupies almost 99% of human genome has been regarded as “junk” for a long time and went unnoticed until these days. But recently, it turned out that noncoding region is extensively transcribed to non-coding RNAs and has various functions. This review highlights recent updates on the significance of non-coding RNAs such as micro RNAs and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) on the pathogenesis of hypertension, also providing an introduction to basic biology of noncoding RNAs. For example, microRNAs are associated with hypertension via neuro-fumoral factor, sympathetic nerve activity, ion transporters in kidneys, endothelial function, vascular smooth muscle phenotype transformation, or communication between cells. Although reports of lncRNAs on pathogenesis of hypertension are scarce at the moment, new lncRNAs in relation to hypertension are being discovered at a rapid pace owing to novel techniques such as microarray or next-generation sequencing. In the clinical settings, clinical use of non-coding RNAs in identifying cardiovascular risks or developing novel tools for treating hypertension such as molecular decoy or mimicks is promising, although improvement in chemical modification or drug delivery system is necessary.


Biomarker, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, lncRNA, long non-coding RNA, microRNA, miRNA, therapy.


Department of Health Care and Preventive Medicine, Matsuyama Red Cross Hospital, 1 Bunkyo-cho, Matsuyama, Ehime, 790-8524, Japan.

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