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Mutat Res. 2011 Dec 1;717(1-2):85-90. doi: 10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2011.03.004. Epub 2011 Mar 23.

Extracellular microRNA: a new source of biomarkers.

Author information

1
Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle, WA 98103, USA.

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a recently discovered class of small, non-coding RNAs that regulate protein levels post-transcriptionally. miRNAs play important regulatory roles in many cellular processes, including differentiation, neoplastic transformation, and cell replication and regeneration. Because of these regulatory roles, it is not surprising that aberrant miRNA expression has been implicated in several diseases. Recent studies have reported significant levels of miRNAs in serum and other body fluids, raising the possibility that circulating miRNAs could serve as useful clinical biomarkers. Here, we provide a brief overview of miRNA biogenesis and function, the identification and potential roles of circulating extracellular miRNAs, and the prospective uses of miRNAs as clinical biomarkers. Finally, we address several issues associated with the accurate measurement of miRNAs from biological samples.

PMID:
21402084
PMCID:
PMC3199035
DOI:
10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2011.03.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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