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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2012 Nov 1;303(9):H1085-95. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00191.2012. Epub 2012 Aug 31.

Circulating microRNAs as diagnostic biomarkers for cardiovascular diseases.

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Heart Failure Research Center, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


One of the major challenges in cardiovascular disease is the identification of reliable clinical biomarkers that can be routinely measured in plasma. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) were recently discovered to circulate in the bloodstream in a remarkably stable form. Because of their stability and often tissue- and disease-specific expression and the possibility to measure them with high sensitivity and specificity, miRNAs are emerging as new diagnostic biomarkers. In this review we will provide an overview of the potential of circulating miRNAs as biomarkers for a wide range of cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, hypertension, heart failure, viral myocarditis, and type-2 diabetes mellitus. Furthermore, we will discuss the challenges with regard to further validation in large patient cohorts, and we will discuss how the measurement of multiple miRNAs simultaneously might improve the accuracy of the diagnostic test.

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