Current clinical data show that, despite constant efforts to develop novel therapies and clinical approaches, atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases (ASCVD) are still one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Advanced and unstable atherosclerotic plaques most often trigger acute coronary events that can lead to fatal outcomes. However, despite the fact that different plaque phenotypes may require different treatments, current approaches to prognosis, diagnosis, and classification of acute coronary syndrome do not consider the diversity of plaque phenotypes. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) represent an important class of molecules that are implicated in epigenetic control of numerous cellular processes. Here we review the latest knowledge about lncRNAs’ influence on plaque development and stability through regulation of immune response, lipid metabolism, extracellular matrix remodelling, endothelial cell function, and vascular smooth muscle function, with special emphasis on pro-atherogenic and anti-atherogenic lncRNA functions. In addition, we present current challenges in the research of lncRNAs’ role in atherosclerosis and translation of the findings from animal models to humans. Finally, we present the directions for future lncRNA-oriented research, which may ultimately result in patient-oriented therapeutic strategies for ASCVD.
- long non-coding RNAs
- plaque stability