The central nervous system can respond to threat via the induction of an inflammatory response. Under normal circumstances this response is tightly controlled, however uncontrolled neuroinflammation is a hallmark of many neurological disorders. MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNA molecules that are important for regulating many cellular processes. The ability of microRNAs to modulate inflammatory signaling is an area of ongoing research, which has gained much attention in recent years. MicroRNAs may either promote or restrict inflammatory signaling, and either exacerbate or ameliorate the pathological consequences of excessive neuroinflammation. The aim of this review is to summarize the mode of regulation for several important and well-studied microRNAs in the context of neuroinflammation, including miR-155, miR-146a, miR-124, miR-21 and let-7. Furthermore, the pathological consequences of miRNA deregulation during disorders that feature neuroinflammation are discussed, including Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Prion diseases, Japanese encephalitis, Herpes encephalitis, ischemic stroke and traumatic brain injury. There has also been considerable interest in the use of altered microRNA signatures as biomarkers for these disorders. The ability to modulate microRNA expression may even serve as the basis for future therapeutic strategies to help treat pathological neuroinflammation.
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