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Competing Endogenous RNA Network Analysis Offers Insights into Ischemic Stroke

Interactions between different endogenous RNAs appear to influence inflammatory and cell death processes involved in ischemic stroke, according to a study appearing in this week's BMC Genomics. The findings may point to new biomarkers and therapeutic targets for the debilitating neurological disease. Despite advancements in understanding and treating ischemic stroke, its underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear, although inflammation and ferroptosis appear to play a critical role. Recent studies have also implicated noncoding RNAs in the condition, with the competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) axis — featuring interactions between ncRNAs, microRNAs, and mRNAs — of particular interest. To further investigate, scientists from Guangxi Medical University used gene expression data from ischemic stroke patients and controls to construct a ceRNA network for the disorder involving 44 long ncRNAs, 15 miRNAs, and 160 mRNAs. An analysis of the network uncovered several signaling pathways associated with ischemic stroke-associated inflammation, as well as five potential biomarkers including one lncRNA and one mRNA found to be highly related to the condition's ferroptosis mechanism. "We believe that this study provides a new understanding of the molecular mechanisms of [ischemic stroke] pathogenesis and that the key RNAs identified herein may become new therapeutic targets for … rehabilitation strategies," the study's authors write.