Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic immune-related disorder designated by a lack of tolerance to self-antigens and the over-secretion of autoantibodies against several cellular compartments. Although the exact pathophysiology of SLE has not been clarified yet, this disorder has a strong genetic component based on the results of familial aggregation and twin studies. Variation in the expression of non-coding RNAs has been shown to influence both susceptibility to SLE and the clinical course of this disorder. Several long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) such as GAS5, MALAT1 and NEAT1 are dysregulated in SLE patients. Moreover, genetic variants within lncRNAs such as SLEAR and linc00513 have been associated with risk of this disorder. The dysregulation of a number of lncRNAs in the peripheral blood of SLE patients has potentiated them as biomarkers for diagnosis, disease activity and therapeutic response. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have also been shown to affect apoptosis and the function of immune cells. Taken together, there is a compelling rationale for the better understanding of the involvement of these two classes of non-coding RNAs in the pathogenesis of SLE. Clarification of the function of these transcripts has the potential to elucidate the molecular pathophysiology of SLE and provide new opportunities for the development of targeted therapies for this disorder.
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