MicroRNAs Associated with Chronic Kidney Disease in the General Population and High-Risk Subgroups—A Systematic Review

Dipuo D. Motshwari, Don M. Matshazi, Rajiv T. Erasmus, Andre P. Kengne, Tandi E. Matsha, Cindy George*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The potential utility of microRNAs (miRNAs) as diagnostic or prognostic biomarkers, as well as therapeutic targets, for chronic kidney disease (CKD) has been advocated. However, studies evaluating the expression profile of the same miRNA signatures in CKD report contradictory findings. This review aimed to characterize miRNAs associated with CKD and/or measures of kidney function and kidney damage in the general population, and also in high-risk subgroups, including people with hypertension (HTN), diabetes mellitus (DM) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Medline via PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and EBSCOhost databases were searched to identify relevant studies published in English or French languages on or before 30 September 2022. A total of 75 studies fulfilled the eligibility criteria: CKD (n = 18), diabetic kidney disease (DKD) (n = 51) and HTN-associated CKD (n = 6), with no study reporting on miRNA profiles in people with HIV-associated nephropathy. In individuals with CKD, miR-126 and miR-223 were consistently downregulated, whilst in DKD, miR-21 and miR-29b were consistently upregulated and miR-30e and let-7a were consistently downregulated in at least three studies. These findings suggest that these miRNAs may be involved in the pathogenesis of CKD and therefore invites further research to explore their clinical utility for CKD prevention and control.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1792
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • chronic kidney disease
  • diabetic kidney disease
  • hypertension-associated CKD
  • micro-RNAs


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