The Role of Long Noncoding RNAs in Neurodegenerative Diseases

Peixing Wan, Wenru Su, Yehong Zhuo
Molecular Neurobiology 2017, 54 (3): 2012-2021
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are transcripts with low protein-coding potential but occupy a large part of transcriptional output. Their roles include regulating gene expression at the epigenetic, transcriptional, and post-transcriptional level in cellular homeostasis. However, lncRNA studies are still in their infancy and the functions of the vast majority of lncRNA transcripts remain unknown. It is generally known that the function of the human nervous system largely relies on the precise regulation of gene expression. Various studies have shown that lncRNAs have a significant impact on normal neural development and on the development and progression of neurodegenerative diseases. In this review, we focused on recent studies associated with lncRNAs in neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), Huntington's disease (HD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple system atrophy (MSA), frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), and glaucoma. Glaucoma, caused by unexplained ganglion cell lesion and apoptosis, is now labeled as a chronic neurodegenerative disorder [1], and therefore, we discussed the association of lncRNAs with glaucoma as well. We illustrate the role of some specific lncRNAs, which may provide new insights into our understanding of the etiology and pathophysiology of the neurodegenerative diseases mentioned above.

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