Serum microRNAs are promising novel biomarkers. PLoS ONE 3(9):e3148

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, United States of America
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 02/2008; 3(9):e3148. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003148
Source: PubMed


Circulating nucleic acids (CNAs) offer unique opportunities for early diagnosis of clinical conditions. Here we show that microRNAs, a family of small non-coding regulatory RNAs involved in human development and pathology, are present in bodily fluids and represent new effective biomarkers.
After developing protocols for extracting and quantifying microRNAs in serum and other body fluids, the serum microRNA profiles of several healthy individuals were determined and found to be similar, validating the robustness of our methods. To address the possibility that the abundance of specific microRNAs might change during physiological or pathological conditions, serum microRNA levels in pregnant and non pregnant women were compared. In sera from pregnant women, microRNAs associated with human placenta were significantly elevated and their levels correlated with pregnancy stage.
Considering the central role of microRNAs in development and disease, our results highlight the medically relevant potential of determining microRNA levels in serum and other body fluids. Thus, microRNAs are a new class of CNAs that promise to serve as useful clinical biomarkers.

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    • "The stability of miRNAs was demonstrated using sera from various sources, after treatment under harsh conditions including boiling, low/high pH, extended storage and freeze–thaw cycles. The detection of miRNAs in serum samples treated under these harsh conditions yielded no significant differences compared to nontreated serum (Chen et al. 2008; Gilad et al. 2008; Mitchell et al. 2008). "
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    • "miRs mediate post-transcriptional gene regulation by binding to and repressing specific messenger RNA targets. Interestingly, a number of microRNAs have been found in the blood stream of many organisms, including humans (Gilad et al. 2008). These findings triggered interest in their use as potential diagnostic tools. "
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    • "MiR-143 which has a role in the adult adipose tissue related with obesity is a well known miRNA (Yi et al., 2011). It has been demonstrated that the levels of miRNAS are remarkably stable and reproducible (Gilad et al., 2008). These findings aroused interest in the use of miRNAs as biomarkers in different clinical settings. "
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