Int J Biol Sci 2021; 17(8):2112-2123. doi:10.7150/ijbs.59904 This issue


Roles of microRNAs in inflammatory bowel disease

HyunTaek Jung1*, Jae Seok Kim2*, Keum Hwa Lee3, Kalthoum Tizaoui4, Salvatore Terrazzino5, Sarah Cargnin5, Lee Smith6, Ai Koyanagi7,8, Louis Jacob7,9, Han Li10, Sung Hwi Hong1, Dong Keon Yon11, Seung Won Lee12, Min Seo Kim13, Paul Wasuwanich10, Wikrom Karnsakul14, Jae Il Shin3✉, Andreas Kronbichler15

1. Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
2. Department of Nephrology, Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine, Wonju, Republic of Korea.
3. Department of Pediatrics, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
4. Laboratory Microorganisms and Active Biomolecules, Sciences Faculty of Tunis, University Tunis El Manar, Tunis, Tunisia.
5. Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Interdepartmental Research Center of Pharmacogenetics and Pharmacogenomics (CRIFF), University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy.
6. The Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, CB1 1PT, UK.
7. Research and Development Unit, Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu, CIBERSAM, 08830 Barcelona, Spain.
8. ICREA, Pg. Lluis Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona, Spain.
9. Faculty of Medicine, University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, 78000 Versailles, France.
10. University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA.
11. Department of Pediatrics, Seoul National University Children's Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
12. Department of Data Science, Sejong University College of Software Convergence, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
13. Korea University, College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
14. Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA.
15. Department of Internal Medicine IV (Nephrology and Hypertension), Medical University Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Jung H, Kim JS, Lee KH, Tizaoui K, Terrazzino S, Cargnin S, Smith L, Koyanagi A, Jacob L, Li H, Hong SH, Yon DK, Lee SW, Kim MS, Wasuwanich P, Karnsakul W, Shin JI, Kronbichler A. Roles of microRNAs in inflammatory bowel disease. Int J Biol Sci 2021; 17(8):2112-2123. doi:10.7150/ijbs.59904. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract that mainly affects young people. IBD is associated with various gastrointestinal symptoms, and thus, affects the quality of life of patients. Currently, the pathogenesis of IBD is poorly understood. Although intestinal bacteria and host immune response are thought to be major factors in its pathogenesis, a sufficient explanation of their role in its pathophysiologic mechanism has not been presented. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), which are small RNA molecules that regulate gene expression, have gained attention as they are known to participate in the molecular interactions of IBD. Recent studies have confirmed the important role of miRNAs in targeting certain molecules in signaling pathways that regulate the homeostasis of the intestinal barrier, inflammatory reactions, and autophagy of the intestinal epithelium. Several studies have identified the specific miRNAs associated with IBD from colon tissues or serum samples of IBD patients and have attempted to use them as useful diagnostic biomarkers. Furthermore, some studies have attempted to treat IBD through intracolonic administration of specific miRNAs in the form of nanoparticle. This review summarizes the latest findings on the role of miRNAs in the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of IBD.

Keywords: inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, microRNAs