microRNAs are a new class of RNA molecules and they play an important role in many biological processes. miRNAs are stably expressed in the circulation and already function as powerful biomarkers in oncology. Larger studies have shown that miRNAs opened a novel chapter in exploring the underlying biology of cardiovascular diseases. In parallel, the dramatic progress of novel technology platforms allow unprecedented simultaneous multiplexing of extended miRNA signatures.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs or miRs) are small, non-coding RNA molecules that are recognized as important regulators of many biological processes. They exert their function by binding to messenger RNA molecules (mRNA). Binding of a miRNA to mRNA prevents or inhibits protein translation resulting in decreased protein levels. Their expression pattern is tissue specific and it is known that miRNA expression is deregulated during pathology. Initially it was thought that miRNAs were only present inside the cell. However, in recent years it was uncovered that miRNAs are stably present in the circulation and are protected against degradation. They are packaged in small vesicles such as exosomes or micro vesicles, and can be bound to lipids such as LDL or to miRNA binding proteins. miRNAs are found in plasma and serum, platelets and in red and white blood cells.
Creemers E et al. Circulation Research 2012;110:483-495. Click here for full article.
Multiple circulating miRNAs have been implicated to act as informative markers for the diagnosis of heart failure (HF), coronary artery disease (CAD) and myocardial infarction (MI). Recently, larger studies have shown that miRNAs can also be used to predict cardiovascular risk such as mortality and hospitalization