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Phys Act Nutr > Volume 25(2); 2021 > Article
Physical Activity and Nutrition 2021;25(2):1-7.
DOI:    Published online June 30, 2021.
Interplays between human microbiota and microRNAs in COVID-19 pathogenesis: a literature review
Bok Sil Hong1,2, Myoung-Ryu Kim2
1Life Science Research Center, Cheju Halla University, Jeju, Republic of Korea
2Department of Nursing, Cheju Halla University, Jeju, Republic of Korea
Correspondence:  Bok Sil Hong, Tel: +82-64-741-7653, Fax: +82-64-741-3989, 
Received: 4 June 2021   • Revised: 22 June 2021   • Accepted: 24 June 2021
Recent studies have shown that COVID-19 is often associated with altered gut microbiota composition and reflects disease severity. Furthermore, various reports suggest that the interaction between COVID-19 and host-microbiota homeostasis is mediated through the modulation of microRNAs (miRNAs). Thus, in this review, we aim to summarize the association between human microbiota and miRNAs in COVID-19 pathogenesis.
We searched for the existing literature using the keywords such “COVID-19 or microbiota,” “microbiota or microRNA,” and “COVID-19 or probiotics” in PubMed until March 31, 2021. Subsequently, we thoroughly reviewed the articles related to microbiota and miRNAs in COVID-19 to generate a comprehensive picture depicting the association between human microbiota and microRNAs in the pathogenesis of COVID-19.
There exists strong experimental evidence suggesting that the composition and diversity of human microbiota are altered in COVID-19 patients, implicating a bidirectional association between the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. In addition, SARS-CoV-2 encoded miRNAs and host cellular microRNAs modulated by human microbiota can interfere with viral replication and regulate host gene expression involved in the initiation and progression of COVID-19. These findings suggest that the manipulation of human microbiota with probiotics may play a significant role against SARS-CoV-2 infection by enhancing the host immune system and lowering the inflammatory status.
The human microbiota-miRNA axis can be used as a therapeutic approach for COVID-19. Hence, further studies are needed to investigate the exact molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of miRNA expression in human microbiota and how these miRNA profiles mediate viral infection through host-microbe interactions.
Key Words: SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, human microbiota, dysbiosis, gut-lung axis, microRNAs
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