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Keywords:

  • Acute allograft rejection;
  • biomarker;
  • chronic allograft dysfunction;
  • miRNA;
  • transplantation genomics;
  • tolerance

Important progress has been made in improving short-term outcomes in solid organ transplantation. However, long-term outcomes have not improved during the last decades. There is a critical need for biomarkers of donor quality, early diagnosis of graft injury and treatment response. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small single-stranded noncoding RNAs that function through translational repression of specific target mRNAs. MiRNA expression has been associated with different diseases and physiological conditions. Moreover, miRNAs have been detected in different biological fluids and these circulating miRNAs can distinguish diseased individuals from healthy controls. The noninvasive nature of circulating miRNA detection, their disease specificity and the availability of accurate techniques for detecting and monitoring these molecules has encouraged a pursuit of miRNA biomarker research and the evaluation of specific applications in the transplant field. miRNA expression might develop as excellent biomarkers of allograft injury and function. In this minireview, we summarize the main accomplishments of recently published reports focused on the identification of miRNAs as biomarkers in organ quality, ischemia-reperfusion injury, acute rejection, tolerance and chronic allograft dysfunction emphasizing their mechanistic and clinical potential applications and describing their methodological limitations.