Emerging functions of circular RNA in aging

Eunah Kim, Yoon Ki Kim, Seung Jae V. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Circular RNA (circRNA) is a closed, single-stranded transcript widely detected in eukaryotes. Recent studies indicate that the levels of circRNAs change with age in various tissues in multiple species, ranging from nematodes to mammals. Here we discuss the functional roles of circRNAs in animal aging and longevity. We review studies regarding the differential expression of circRNAs that contributes to cellular senescence and the pathogenesis of aging-associated diseases. We explore the features of aging-associated circRNAs by discussing their potential as biomarkers of aging, tissue specificity, physiological roles, action mechanisms, and evolutionarily conserved characteristics. Our review provides insights into current progress in circRNA research and their significant functions in the aging process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-829
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Genetics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sept

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study is supported by the Korean Government (MSICT) through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) (NRF- 2019R1A3B2067745 to S-J.V.L. and NRF-2020R1C1C1013546 to E.K.). We thank all Lee laboratory members for valuable comments on the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • age-associated disease
  • aging
  • biomarker of aging
  • circular RNAs
  • senescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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