Methodological challenges in utilizing miRNAs as circulating biomarkers

Authors

  • Leni Moldovan,

    1. Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care, Sleep Medicine, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
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  • Kara E. Batte,

    1. Comprehensive Cancer Center, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
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  • Joanne Trgovcich,

    1. The Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
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  • Jon Wisler,

    1. The Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
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  • Clay B. Marsh,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care, Sleep Medicine, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
    • Correspondence to: Clay B. MARSH, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care, Sleep Medicine, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, 511 McCampbell Hall North, 1581 Dodd Drive, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

      Tel.:+1 614 293-9309

      Fax: +1 614 366-3463

      E-mail: Clay.Marsh@osumc.edu

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  • Melissa Piper

    1. Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care, Sleep Medicine, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
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Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as important regulators in the post-transcriptional control of gene expression. The discovery of their presence not only in tissues but also in extratissular fluids, including blood, urine and cerebro-spinal fluid, together with their changes in expression in various pathological conditions, has implicated these extracellular miRNAs as informative biomarkers of disease. However, exploiting miRNAs in this capacity requires methodological rigour. Here, we report several key procedural aspects of miRNA isolation from plasma and serum, as exemplified by research in cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. We also highlight the advantages and disadvantages of various profiling methods to determine the expression levels of plasma- and serum-derived miRNAs. Attention to such methodological details is critical, as circulating miRNAs become diagnostic tools for various human diseases.

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