The recent discovery of microRNAs (miRNAs) in human reproductive tissues and cells indicates a possible functional role in reproductive function. However, the studies published to date in female reproductive tissues/cells and embryos are inconclusive and sometimes controversial. In order to update the knowledge of this field, the present study aimed to discuss, through a systematic review, the role of miRNAs in female human reproduction and early embryogenesis. We conducted a systematic review of the published literature in MEDLINE and EMBASE databases through June 2018 (plus a complementary search until July 2019), in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines. We have included descriptive and observational studies, in which fertile/infertile women were well-defined. The primary outcome was the miRNA expression in ovaries, oocytes, extracellular vesicles, and embryos. We identified 25,204 articles, of which 28 were selected for qualitative analysis: 18 in ovaries and extracellular vesicles, three in oocytes, and seven in embryos. The present systematic review of descriptive and observational studies demonstrates that aberrant miRNA expression in female reproductive tissues/cells and embryos is related with infertility and embryogenesis errors. The expression of specific miRNAs, particularly in extracellular vesicles, may be used in the future as biomarkers of infertility and prognostic tools of embryo development.
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