The health and function of our visual system relies on accurate gene expression. While many genetic mutations are associated with visual impairment and blindness, we are just beginning to understand the complex interplay between gene regulation and retinal pathologies. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a class of non-coding RNAs, are important regulators of gene expression that exert their function through post-transcriptional silencing of complementary mRNA targets. According to recent transcriptomic analyses, certain miRNA species are expressed in all retinal cell types, while others are cell type-specific. As miRNAs play important roles in homeostasis, cellular function, and survival of differentiated retinal cell types, their dysregulation is associated with retinal degenerative diseases. Thus, advancing our understanding of the genetic networks modulated by miRNAs is central to harnessing their potential as therapeutic agents to overcome visual impairment. In this review, we summarize the role of distinct miRNAs in specific retinal cell types, the current knowledge on their implication in inherited retinal disorders, and their potential as therapeutic agents.
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