MicroRNAs are short, non-coding RNAs that target messenger RNAs for degradation. miR-145 is a vascular-enriched microRNA that is important for smooth muscle cell (SMC) differentiation. Under healthy circumstances, SMC exist in a contractile, differentiated phenotype promoted by miR-145. In cases of disease or injury, SMC can undergo reversible dedifferentiation into a synthetic phenotype, accompanied by inhibition of miR-145 expression. Vascular disorders such as atherosclerosis and neointimal hyperplasia are characterised by aberrant phenotypic switching in SMC. This review will summarise the physiological roles of miR-145 in vascular SMC, including the molecular regulation of differentiation, proliferation and migration. Furthermore, it will discuss the different ways in which miR-145 can be dysregulated and the downstream impact this has on the progression of vascular pathologies. Finally, it will discuss whether miR-145 may be suitable for use as a biomarker of vascular disease.

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