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Molecules 2014, 19(5), 6891-6910; doi:10.3390/molecules19056891

Circulating miRNAs as Biomarkers for Neurodegenerative Disorders

, 2
, 2
 and 1,3,*
Received: 19 April 2014 / Revised: 19 May 2014 / Accepted: 21 May 2014 / Published: 23 May 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue miRNAs as Probes to Monitor Cancer and Neurodegenerative Disorders)
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Abstract: Neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD) and frontotemporal dementias (FTD), are considered distinct entities, however, there is increasing evidence of an overlap from the clinical, pathological and genetic points of view. All neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by neuronal loss and death in specific areas of the brain, for example, hippocampus and cortex for AD, midbrain for PD, frontal and temporal lobes for FTD. Loss of neurons is a relatively late event in the progression of neurodegenerative diseases that is typically preceded by other events such as metabolic changes, synaptic dysfunction and loss, neurite retraction, and the appearance of other abnormalities, such as axonal transport defects. The brain’s ability to compensate for these dysfunctions occurs over a long period of time and results in late clinical manifestation of symptoms, when successful pharmacological intervention is no longer feasible. Currently, diagnosis of AD, PD and different forms of dementia is based primarily on analysis of the patient’s cognitive function. It is therefore important to find non-invasive diagnostic methods useful to detect neurodegenerative diseases during early, preferably asymptomatic stages, when a pharmacological intervention is still possible. Altered expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) in many disease states, including neurodegeneration, and increasing relevance of miRNAs in biofluids in different pathologies has prompted the study of their possible application as neurodegenerative diseases biomarkers in order to identify new therapeutic targets. Here, we review what is known about the role of miRNAs in the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration and the possibilities and challenges of using these small RNA molecules as a signature for neurodegenerative conditions.
Keywords: miRNAs; biomarkers; Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis miRNAs; biomarkers; Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Grasso, M.; Piscopo, P.; Confaloni, A.; Denti, M.A. Circulating miRNAs as Biomarkers for Neurodegenerative Disorders. Molecules 2014, 19, 6891-6910.

AMA Style

Grasso M, Piscopo P, Confaloni A, Denti MA. Circulating miRNAs as Biomarkers for Neurodegenerative Disorders. Molecules. 2014; 19(5):6891-6910.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Grasso, Margherita; Piscopo, Paola; Confaloni, Annamaria; Denti, Michela A. 2014. "Circulating miRNAs as Biomarkers for Neurodegenerative Disorders." Molecules 19, no. 5: 6891-6910.

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