MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a large family of short noncoding RNA sequences, modulate gene expression and regulate a wide range of biological processes as cell differentiation, proliferation and development, cell-to-cell communication, cell metabolism and apoptosis. There is evidence that miRNAs may have a role in molecular mechanisms linked to cellular pathways of certain diseases, as viral infections, cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. miRNAs are contained in tissue cells but they are also detectable in extracellular sites, as plasma and other body fluids so they may be identified and quantified in the circulating blood by several techniques. The potential of circulating miRNAs as stable blood-based biomarkers for some diseases is described in this updated review. There are currently no circulating miRNAs that are validated as biomarkers for routinary use in daily clinical practice; lack of significant comparative studies between miRNAs and disease common biomarkers and high detection costs are the main limitations to use these nucleotides in daily clinical practice. In the near future, larger, comparative, long-term and randomized controlled trials must be undertaken to validate these disease biomarkers.

Author (s) Details

Carella Angelo Michele,
Department of Internal Medicine, “T. Masselli-Mascia” Hospital, 71016 San Severo (Foggia), Italy.

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