Special Issue "microRNA as Biomarker"

A special issue of Cells (ISSN 2073-4409).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Y-h. Taguchi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physics, Chuo University, Tokyo 112-8551, Japan
Interests: Bioinformatics; Gene expression analysis; feature selection; tensor decomposition
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There are thousands of miRNAs, thus individual microRNA can work as useful biomarkers. In particular, since the so-called circulating microRNAs reflect the whole-body status and can be analyzed by relatively noninvasive methods, they can be used as biomarkers of various diseases, of the progression of biological processes, e.g., differentiation and development, and even as prognostic factors. microRNAs are conserved between not so closely related species, e.g., human and mice. Thus, investigation to identify individual microRNAs that are conserved and, therefore, represent biomarkers might help us understand differences between species. All kinds of studies related to microRNA as biomarkers are of interest to this Special Issue.

Prof. Y-h. Taguchi
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Disease biomarker
  • circulatiing miRNA
  • saliva miRNA
  • urine miRNA
  • blood miRNA
  • nurodgenerative disease
  • cancer biomerker
  • health check
  • diagnose
  • cardiovascular disorders
  • diabetes aheade sick
  • exosome miRNA
  • aberrant miRNA expression

Published Papers (20 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Expression of the microRNA-200 Family, microRNA-205, and Markers of Epithelial–Mesenchymal Transition as Predictors for Endoscopic Submucosal Dissection over Esophagectomy in Esophageal Adenocarcinoma: A Single-Center Experience
Cells 2020, 9(2), 486; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9020486 (registering DOI) - 20 Feb 2020
Abstract
Endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) is an effective treatment of early esophageal adenocarcinomas (EACs). The decision of ESD over esophagectomy is based on clinical evaluation of tumor depth and invasion. On a molecular level, tumor invasion is strongly associated with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Here, [...] Read more.
Endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) is an effective treatment of early esophageal adenocarcinomas (EACs). The decision of ESD over esophagectomy is based on clinical evaluation of tumor depth and invasion. On a molecular level, tumor invasion is strongly associated with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Here, we investigated whether localized ESD-resected and surgically resected EAC samples displayed different expression profiles of EMT protein and microRNA markers and whether these different expression profiles were able to retrospectively discriminate localized and surgically resected samples. By doing this, we aimed to evaluate whether preoperative measurement of EMT marker expression might support the decision regarding ESD over surgery. The results showed that ESD-resected samples displayed an epithelial expression profile, i.e., high expression of epithelial protein markers, whereas surgically resected samples displayed high expression of mesenchymal markers. In addition, the anti-EMT microRNA-205 was significantly more expressed in ESD-resected samples, whereas we found no significant differences in the expression levels of microRNA-200 family members. Furthermore, in our retrospective approach, we have demonstrated that measurement of selected EMT markers and microRNA-205 has significant discrimination power to distinguish ESD-resected and surgically resected samples. We suggest that the assessment of EMT status of EAC samples on a molecular level may support clinical evaluation regarding the applicability of ESD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue microRNA as Biomarker)
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Open AccessArticle
Urine microRNA Profiling Displays miR-125a Dysregulation in Children with Fragile X Syndrome
Cells 2020, 9(2), 289; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9020289 - 24 Jan 2020
Abstract
A triplet repeat expansion leading to transcriptional silencing of the FMR1 gene results in fragile X syndrome (FXS), which is a common cause of inherited intellectual disability and autism. Phenotypic variation requires personalized treatment approaches and hampers clinical trials in FXS. We searched [...] Read more.
A triplet repeat expansion leading to transcriptional silencing of the FMR1 gene results in fragile X syndrome (FXS), which is a common cause of inherited intellectual disability and autism. Phenotypic variation requires personalized treatment approaches and hampers clinical trials in FXS. We searched for microRNA (miRNA) biomarkers for FXS using deep sequencing of urine and identified 28 differentially regulated miRNAs when 219 reliably identified miRNAs were compared in dizygotic twin boys who shared the same environment, but one had an FXS full mutation, and the other carried a premutation allele. The largest increase was found in miR-125a in the FXS sample, and the miR-125a levels were increased in two independent sets of urine samples from a total of 19 FXS children. Urine miR-125a levels appeared to increase with age in control subjects, but varied widely in FXS subjects. Should the results be generalized, it could suggest that two FXS subgroups existed. Predicted gene targets of the differentially regulated miRNAs are involved in molecular pathways that regulate developmental processes, homeostasis, and neuronal function. Regulation of miR-125a has been associated with type I metabotropic glutamate receptor signaling (mGluR), which has been explored as a treatment target for FXS, reinforcing the possibility that urine miR-125a may provide a novel biomarker for FXS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue microRNA as Biomarker)
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Open AccessArticle
Investigating the Potential and Pitfalls of EV-Encapsulated MicroRNAs as Circulating Biomarkers of Breast Cancer
Cells 2020, 9(1), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9010141 - 07 Jan 2020
Abstract
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) shuttle microRNA (miRNA) throughout the circulation and are believed to represent a fingerprint of the releasing cell. We isolated and characterized serum EVs of breast tumour-bearing animals, breast cancer (BC) patients, and healthy controls. EVs were characterized using transmission electron [...] Read more.
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) shuttle microRNA (miRNA) throughout the circulation and are believed to represent a fingerprint of the releasing cell. We isolated and characterized serum EVs of breast tumour-bearing animals, breast cancer (BC) patients, and healthy controls. EVs were characterized using transmission electron microscopy (TEM), protein quantification, western blotting, and nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA). Absolute quantitative (AQ)-PCR was employed to analyse EV-miR-451a expression. Isolated EVs had the appropriate morphology and size. Patient sera contained significantly more EVs than did healthy controls. In tumour-bearing animals, a correlation between serum EV number and tumour burden was observed. There was no significant relationship between EV protein yield and EV quantity determined by NTA, highlighting the requirement for direct quantification. Using AQ-PCR to relate miRNA copy number to EV yield, a significant increase in miRNA-451a copies/EV was detected in BC patient sera, suggesting potential as a novel biomarker of breast cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue microRNA as Biomarker)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification and Validation Model for Informative Liquid Biopsy-Based microRNA Biomarkers: Insights from Germ Cell Tumor In Vitro, In Vivo and Patient-Derived Data
Cells 2019, 8(12), 1637; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8121637 - 14 Dec 2019
Abstract
Liquid biopsy-based biomarkers, such as microRNAs, represent valuable tools for patient management, but often do not make it to integration in the clinic. We aim to explore issues impeding this transition, in the setting of germ cell tumors, for which novel biomarkers are [...] Read more.
Liquid biopsy-based biomarkers, such as microRNAs, represent valuable tools for patient management, but often do not make it to integration in the clinic. We aim to explore issues impeding this transition, in the setting of germ cell tumors, for which novel biomarkers are needed. We describe a model for identifying and validating clinically relevant microRNAs for germ cell tumor patients, using both in vitro, in vivo (mouse model) and patient-derived data. Initial wide screening of candidate microRNAs is performed, followed by targeted profiling of potentially relevant biomarkers. We demonstrate the relevance of appropriate (negative) controls, experimental conditions (proliferation), and issues related to sample origin (serum, plasma, cerebral spinal fluid) and pre-analytical variables (hemolysis, contaminants, temperature), all of which could interfere with liquid biopsy-based studies and their conclusions. Finally, we show the value of our identification model in a specific scenario, contradicting the presumed role of miR-375 as marker of teratoma histology in liquid biopsy setting. Our findings indicate other putative microRNAs (miR-885-5p, miR-448 and miR-197-3p) fulfilling this clinical need. The identification model is informative to identify the best candidate microRNAs to pursue in a clinical setting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue microRNA as Biomarker)
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Open AccessArticle
Dietary Immunostimulant CpG Modulates MicroRNA Biomarkers Associated with Immune Responses in Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar)
Cells 2019, 8(12), 1592; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8121592 - 07 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are key regulators in fish immune responses. However, no study has previously characterized the impact of polyriboinosinic polyribocytidylic acid (pIC) and formalin-killed typical Aeromonas salmonicida (ASAL) on miRNA expression in Atlantic salmon fed a commercial diet with and without immunostimulant CpG. [...] Read more.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are key regulators in fish immune responses. However, no study has previously characterized the impact of polyriboinosinic polyribocytidylic acid (pIC) and formalin-killed typical Aeromonas salmonicida (ASAL) on miRNA expression in Atlantic salmon fed a commercial diet with and without immunostimulant CpG. To this end, first, we performed small RNA deep sequencing and qPCR analyses to identify and confirm pIC- and/or ASAL-responsive miRNAs in the head kidney of salmon fed a control diet. DESeq2 analyses identified 12 and 18 miRNAs differentially expressed in pIC and ASAL groups, respectively, compared to the controls. Fifteen of these miRNAs were studied by qPCR; nine remained significant by qPCR. Five miRNAs (miR-27d-1-2-5p, miR-29b-2-5p, miR-146a-5p, miR-146a-1-2-3p, miR-221-5p) were shown by qPCR to be significantly induced by both pIC and ASAL. Second, the effect of CpG-containing functional feed on miRNA expression was investigated by qPCR. In pre-injection samples, 6 of 15 miRNAs (e.g., miR-181a-5-3p, miR-462a-3p, miR-722-3p) had significantly lower expression in fish fed CpG diet than control diet. In contrast, several miRNAs (e.g., miR-146a-1-2-3p, miR-192a-5p, miR-194a-5p) in the PBS- and ASAL-injected groups had significantly higher expression in CpG-fed fish. Multivariate statistical analyses confirmed that the CpG diet had a greater impact on miRNA expression in ASAL-injected compared with pIC-injected fish. This study identified immune-relevant miRNA biomarkers that will be valuable in the development of diets to combat infectious diseases of salmon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue microRNA as Biomarker)
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Open AccessArticle
miR-1185-1 and miR-548q Are Biomarkers of Response to Weight Loss and Regulate the Expression of GSK3B
Cells 2019, 8(12), 1548; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8121548 - 30 Nov 2019
Abstract
The aim of the present investigation was to identify putative miRNAs involved in the response to weight loss. Reverse-transcribed RNA isolated from white blood cells (WBCs) of a subpopulation from the Reduction of the Metabolic Syndrome in Navarra-Spain (RESMENA-S) study (low-responders (LR) and [...] Read more.
The aim of the present investigation was to identify putative miRNAs involved in the response to weight loss. Reverse-transcribed RNA isolated from white blood cells (WBCs) of a subpopulation from the Reduction of the Metabolic Syndrome in Navarra-Spain (RESMENA-S) study (low-responders (LR) and high-responders (HR)) was hybridized in a gene expression microarray. Moreover, miRNAs were sequenced by miRNA-Seq. It was found that miR-548q and miR-1185-1 were overexpressed in HR, both in the microarray and in the miRNA-Seq. A bioinformatic prediction of putative target genes of the selected miRNAs found that GSK3B, a putative target for miR-548q and miR-1185-1, was downregulated in HR. Particular 3′-UTR binding regions of GSK3B were cloned downstream of the firefly luciferase gene. HEK-293T cells were co-transfected with either 0.25 μg of empty pmiR-GLO or pmiR-GLO-548q-3′-UTR/pmiR-GLO-1185-1-3′-UTR, and 7.5 pmol of miR-548q/miR-1185-1 mimics, demonstrating that miR-1185-1 bound to the 3′-UTR region of GSK3B. THP-1 cells were transfected with either 20/40 nM of miR-548q/miR-1185-1 mimics, evidencing that miR-1185-1inhibited the expression of the gene when transfected at doses of 20/40 nM, whereas miR-548q inhibited GSK3B expression at a dose of 40 nM. As a conclusion, miR-548q and miR-1185-1 levels in WBCs are biomarkers of response to weight-loss diets and could be involved in the regulation of the proinflammatory gene GSK3B. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue microRNA as Biomarker)
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Open AccessArticle
Synovial-Fluid miRNA Signature for Diagnosis of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Cells 2019, 8(12), 1521; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8121521 - 26 Nov 2019
Abstract
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is the most common chronic inflammatory rheumatism in childhood; microRNAs (miRNAs) have been proposed as diagnostic biomarkers. Although joints are the primary targets for JIA, a synovial fluid-based miRNA signature has never been studied. We aim to identify miRNA [...] Read more.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is the most common chronic inflammatory rheumatism in childhood; microRNAs (miRNAs) have been proposed as diagnostic biomarkers. Although joints are the primary targets for JIA, a synovial fluid-based miRNA signature has never been studied. We aim to identify miRNA biomarkers in JIA by comparing synovial fluid and serum samples from children with JIA and K. kingae septic arthritis (SA). With next-generation high-throughput sequencing, we measured the absolute levels of 2083 miRNAs in synovial fluid and serum from an exploratory cohort of children and validated differentially expressed miRNAs in a replication study by using RT-qPCR. We identified a 19-miRNA signature only in synovial fluid samples that was significantly deregulated, with at least 2-fold change in expression, in JIA versus SA (p < 0.01). The combination of miR-6764-5p, miR-155, and miR-146a-5p expression in synovial fluid yielded an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 1 (95% CI 0.978 to 1), thereby perfectly differentiating JIA from SA in children. We propose, for the first time, a synovial fluid-specific miRNA signature for JIA and associated signaling pathways that may indicate potential biomarkers to assist in the classification and differential diagnosis of JIA and help in understanding JIA pathogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue microRNA as Biomarker)
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Open AccessArticle
MiR-33a Controls hMSCS Osteoblast Commitment Modulating the Yap/Taz Expression Through EGFR Signaling Regulation
Cells 2019, 8(12), 1495; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8121495 - 22 Nov 2019
Abstract
Mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSCs) display a pleiotropic function in bone regeneration. The signaling involved in osteoblast commitment is still not completely understood, and that determines the failure of current therapies being used. In our recent studies, we identified two miRNAs as regulators of [...] Read more.
Mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSCs) display a pleiotropic function in bone regeneration. The signaling involved in osteoblast commitment is still not completely understood, and that determines the failure of current therapies being used. In our recent studies, we identified two miRNAs as regulators of hMSCs osteoblast differentiation driving hypoxia signaling and cytoskeletal reorganization. Other signalings involved in this process are epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signalings through the regulation of Yes-associated protein (YAP)/PDZ-binding motif (TAZ) expression. In the current study, we investigated the role of miR-33a family as a (i) modulator of YAP/TAZ expression and (ii) a regulator of EGFR signaling during osteoblast commitments. Starting from the observation on hMSCs and primary osteoblast cell lines (Nh-Ost) in which EMT genes and miR-33a displayed a specific expression, we performed a gain and loss of function study with miR-33a-5p and 3p on hMSCs cells and Nh-Ost. After 24 h of transfections, we evaluated the modulation of EMT and osteoblast genes expression by qRT-PCR, Western blot, and Osteoimage assays. Through bioinformatic analysis, we identified YAP as the putative target of miR-33a-3p. Its role was investigated by gain and loss of function studies with miR-33a-3p on hMSCs; qRT-PCR and Western blot analyses were also carried out. Finally, the possible role of EGFR signaling in YAP/TAZ modulation by miR-33a-3p expression was evaluated. Human MSCs were treated with EGF-2 and EGFR inhibitor for different time points, and qRT-PCR and Western blot analyses were performed. The above-mentioned methods revealed a balance between miR-33a-5p and miR-33a-3p expression during hMSCs osteoblast differentiation. The human MSCs phenotype was maintained by miR-33a-5p, while the maintenance of the osteoblast phenotype in the Nh-Ost cell model was permitted by miR-33a-3p expression, which regulated YAP/TAZ through the modulation of EGFR signaling. The inhibition of EGFR blocked the effects of miR-33a-3p on YAP/TAZ modulation, favoring the maintenance of hMSCs in a committed phenotype. A new possible personalized therapeutic approach to bone regeneration was discussed, which might be mediated by customizing delivery of miR-33a in simultaneously targeting EGFR and YAP signaling with combined use of drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue microRNA as Biomarker)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of a Diagnostic Set of Endomyocardial Biopsy microRNAs for Acute Cellular Rejection Diagnostics in Patients after Heart Transplantation Using Next-Generation Sequencing
Cells 2019, 8(11), 1400; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8111400 - 06 Nov 2019
Abstract
Introduction: Acute cellular rejection (ACR) of heart allografts represents the most common reason for graft failure. Endomyocardial biopsies (EMB) are still subject to substantial interobserver variability. Novel biomarkers enabling precise ACR diagnostics may decrease interobserver variability. We aimed to identify a specific subset [...] Read more.
Introduction: Acute cellular rejection (ACR) of heart allografts represents the most common reason for graft failure. Endomyocardial biopsies (EMB) are still subject to substantial interobserver variability. Novel biomarkers enabling precise ACR diagnostics may decrease interobserver variability. We aimed to identify a specific subset of microRNAs reflecting the presence of ACR. Patients and Methods: Monocentric retrospective study. A total of 38 patients with the anamnesis of ACR were identified and for each patient three consecutive samples of EMB (with, prior and after ACR) were collected. Sixteen trios were used for next-generation sequencing (exploratory cohort); the resting 22 trios were used for validation with qRT-PCR (validation cohort). Statistical analysis was performed using R software. Results: The analysis of the exploration cohort provided the total of 11 miRNAs that were altered during ACR, the three of which (miR-144, miR-589 and miR-182) were further validated in the validation cohort. Using the levels of all 11 miRNAs and principal component analysis, an ACR score was created with the specificity of 91% and sensitivity of 68% for detecting the presence of ACR in the EMB sample. Conclusion: We identified a set of microRNAs altered in endomyocardial biopsies during ACR and using their relative levels we created a diagnostic score that can be used for ACR diagnosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue microRNA as Biomarker)
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Open AccessArticle
miR-371a-3p, miR-373-3p and miR-367-3p as Serum Biomarkers in Metastatic Testicular Germ Cell Cancers Before, During and After Chemotherapy
Cells 2019, 8(10), 1221; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8101221 - 08 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Background: LDH (lactate dehydrogenase), AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) and β-HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) are used in diagnosis and follow-up of testicular germ cell cancer (TGCC) patients. Our aim was to investigate the association between levels of miR-371a-3p, miR-373-3p and miR-367-3p and clinical features in metastatic [...] Read more.
Background: LDH (lactate dehydrogenase), AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) and β-HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) are used in diagnosis and follow-up of testicular germ cell cancer (TGCC) patients. Our aim was to investigate the association between levels of miR-371a-3p, miR-373-3p and miR-367-3p and clinical features in metastatic TGCC. Methods: relative levels of miR-371a-3p, miR-373-3p and miR-367-3p were evaluated in serum of metastatic TGCC patients. A prospectively included and a retrospectively selected cohort were studied (total patient number = 109). Blood samples were drawn at start of chemotherapy and during follow-up. Serum microRNA (miR) levels were determined using the ampTSmiR test. Results: at start of chemotherapy, miR-371a-3p, miR-373-3p and miR-367-3p levels were positively correlated to LDH. The median level of these miRs was higher in patients who developed a relapse after complete biochemical remission (n = 34) than in those who had complete durable remission (n = 60). Higher levels of miR-367-3p were found in patients with refractory disease (n = 15) compared to those who had complete response. miR levels decreased during the first week of chemotherapy in patients with complete response and stayed below threshold after one year of treatment. Conclusion: high miR levels at start of chemotherapy are associated with worse clinical outcome and can assist in early diagnosing of relapses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue microRNA as Biomarker)
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Open AccessArticle
Low miR-150-5p and miR-320b Expression Predicts Reduced Survival of COPD Patients
Cells 2019, 8(10), 1162; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8101162 - 27 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with an increased risk of death, reducing life expectancy on average between 5 and 7 years. The survival time after diagnosis, however, varies considerably as a result of the heterogeneity of COPD. Therefore, markers that predict [...] Read more.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with an increased risk of death, reducing life expectancy on average between 5 and 7 years. The survival time after diagnosis, however, varies considerably as a result of the heterogeneity of COPD. Therefore, markers that predict individual survival of COPD patients are of great value. We analyzed baseline molecular profiles and collected 54 months of follow-up data of the cohort study “COPD and SYstemic consequences-COmorbidities NETwork” (COSYCONET). Genome-wide microRNA signatures from whole blood collected at time of the inclusion in the study were generated for 533 COPD patients including patients that deceased during the 54-month follow-up period (n = 53) and patients that survived this period (n = 480). We identified two blood-born microRNAs (miR-150-5p and miR-320b) that were highly predictive for survival of COPD patients. The expression change was then confirmed by RT-qPCR in 245 individuals. Ninety percent of patients with highest expression of miR-150-5p survived the 54-month period in contrast to only 50% of patients with lowest expression intensity. Moreover, the abundance of the oncogenic miR-150-5p in blood of COPD patients was predictive for the development of cancer. Thus, molecular profiles measured at the time of a COPD diagnosis have a high predictive power for the survival of patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue microRNA as Biomarker)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Systematic Assessment of Blood-Borne MicroRNAs Highlights Molecular Profiles of Endurance Sport and Carbohydrate Uptake
Cells 2019, 8(9), 1045; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8091045 - 06 Sep 2019
Abstract
Multiple studies endorsed the positive effect of regular exercise on mental and physical health. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying training-induced fitness in combination with personal life-style remain largely unexplored. Circulating biomarkers such as microRNAs (miRNAs) offer themselves for studying systemic and cellular changes [...] Read more.
Multiple studies endorsed the positive effect of regular exercise on mental and physical health. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying training-induced fitness in combination with personal life-style remain largely unexplored. Circulating biomarkers such as microRNAs (miRNAs) offer themselves for studying systemic and cellular changes since they can be collected from the bloodstream in a low-invasive manner. In Homo sapiens miRNAs are known to regulate a substantial number of protein-coding genes in a post-transcriptional manner and hence are of great interest to understand differential gene expression profiles, offering a cost-effective mechanism to study molecular training adaption, and connecting the dots from genomics to observed phenotypes. Here, we investigated molecular expression patterns of 2549 miRNAs in whole-blood samples from 23 healthy and untrained adult participants of a cross-over study, consisting of eight weeks of endurance training, with several sessions per week, followed by 8 weeks of washout and another 8 weeks of running, using microarrays. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the two study groups, one of which administered carbohydrates before each session in the first training period, and switching the treatment group for the second training period. During running sessions clinical parameters as heartbeat frequency were recorded. This information was extended with four measurements of maximum oxygen uptake (VO 2 max) for each participant. We observed that multiple circulating miRNAs show expression changes after endurance training, leveraging the capability to separate the blood samples by training status. To this end, we demonstrate that most of the variance in miRNA expression can be explained by both common and known biological and technical factors. Our findings highlight six distinct clusters of miRNAs, each exhibiting an oscillating expression profile across the four study timepoints, that can effectively be utilized to predict phenotypic VO 2 max levels. In addition, we identified miR-532-5p as a candidate marker to determine personal alterations in physical training performance on a case-by-case analysis taking the influence of a carbohydrate-rich nutrition into account. In literature, miR-532-5p is known as a common down-regulated miRNA in diabetes and obesity, possibly providing a molecular link between cellular homeostasis, personal fitness levels, and health in aging. We conclude that circulating miRNA expression can be altered due to regular endurance training, independent of the carbohydrate (CHO) availability in the training timeframe. Further validation studies are required to confirm the role of exercise-affected miRNAs and the extraordinary function of miR-532-5p in modulating the metabolic response to a high availability of glucose. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue microRNA as Biomarker)
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Open AccessArticle
Aberrant Expression of Intracellular let-7e, miR-146a, and miR-155 Correlates with Severity of Depression in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder and Is Ameliorated after Antidepressant Treatment
Cells 2019, 8(7), 647; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8070647 - 27 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Chronic inflammation and abnormalities in Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling pathways are associated with major depressive disorder (MDD). Our previous work reported that impaired negative regulators for the TLR pathways are associated with MDD. This study aimed to assess the association between the severity [...] Read more.
Chronic inflammation and abnormalities in Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling pathways are associated with major depressive disorder (MDD). Our previous work reported that impaired negative regulators for the TLR pathways are associated with MDD. This study aimed to assess the association between the severity of depression and the intracellular microRNAs that regulate TLR4 signaling in both peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and monocytes from MDD patients. The severity of MDD before and after antidepressant treatment was determined by the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, and quantitative RT-PCR was used to measure the levels of intracellular regulatory microRNAs, including let-7e, miR-21-5p miR-145, miR-223, miR-146a, and miR-155, in PBMCs and monocytes isolated from 43 healthy controls and 84 patients with MDD before and after treatment with antidepressants. Assays of PBMCs showed that the levels of let-7e, miR-146a, and miR-155 were lower in MDD patients than in healthy controls and were significantly higher after than before treatment in the 69 patients who completed treatment with antidepressants for four weeks. Levels of miR-146a and miR-155 in monocytes were lower in MDD patients than in controls and were increased in the former after antidepressant treatment. Multiple linear regression analyses found that let-7e and miR-146a expression before treatment was inversely correlated with severity of depression, whereas miR-155 before treatment was directly correlated with severity of depression. These findings suggest that intracellular regulatory microRNAs which regulate TLR4 signaling are aberrantly expressed in patients with MDD and that these levels are ameliorated by antidepressant treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue microRNA as Biomarker)

Review

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Open AccessReview
miRNAs as Key Players in the Management of Cutaneous Melanoma
Cells 2020, 9(2), 415; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9020415 - 11 Feb 2020
Abstract
The number of treatment options for melanoma patients has grown in the past few years, leading to considerable improvements in both overall and progression-free survival. Targeted therapies and immune checkpoint inhibitors have opened a new era in the management of melanoma patients. Despite [...] Read more.
The number of treatment options for melanoma patients has grown in the past few years, leading to considerable improvements in both overall and progression-free survival. Targeted therapies and immune checkpoint inhibitors have opened a new era in the management of melanoma patients. Despite the clinical advances, further research efforts are needed to identify other “druggable” targets and new biomarkers to improve the stratification of melanoma patients who could really benefit from targeted and immunotherapies. To this end, many studies have focused on the role of microRNAs (miRNAs) that are small non-coding RNAs (18-25 nucleotides in length), which post-transcriptionally regulate the expression of their targets. In cancer, they can behave either as oncogenes or oncosuppressive genes and play a central role in many intracellular pathways involved in proliferation and invasion. Given their modulating activity on the transcriptional landscape, their biological role is under investigation to study resistance mechanisms. They are able to mediate the communication between tumor cells and their microenvironment and regulate tumor immunity through direct regulation of the genes involved in immune activation or suppression. To date, a very promising miRNA-based strategy is to use them as prognosis and diagnosis biomarkers both as cell-free miRNAs and extracellular-vesicle miRNAs. However, miRNAs have a complex role since they target different genes in different cellular conditions. Thus, the ultimate aim of studies has been to recapitulate their role in melanoma in biological networks that account for miRNA/gene expression and mutational state. In this review, we will provide an overview of current scientific knowledge regarding the oncogenic or oncosuppressive role of miRNAs in melanoma and their use as biomarkers, with respect to approved therapies for melanoma treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue microRNA as Biomarker)
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Open AccessReview
Cannabis Sativa Revisited—Crosstalk between microRNA Expression, Inflammation, Oxidative Stress, and Endocannabinoid Response System in Critically Ill Patients with Sepsis
Cells 2020, 9(2), 307; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9020307 - 28 Jan 2020
Abstract
Critically ill patients with sepsis require a multidisciplinary approach, as this situation implies multiorgan distress, with most of the bodily biochemical and cellular systems being affected by the condition. Moreover, sepsis is characterized by a multitude of biochemical interactions and by dynamic changes [...] Read more.
Critically ill patients with sepsis require a multidisciplinary approach, as this situation implies multiorgan distress, with most of the bodily biochemical and cellular systems being affected by the condition. Moreover, sepsis is characterized by a multitude of biochemical interactions and by dynamic changes of the immune system. At the moment, there is a gap in our understanding of the cellular, genetic, and molecular mechanisms involved in sepsis. One of the systems intensely studied in recent years is the endocannabinoid signaling pathway, as light was shed over a series of important interactions of cannabinoid receptors with biochemical pathways, specifically for sepsis. Furthermore, a series of important implications on inflammation and the immune system that are induced by the activity of cannabinoid receptors stimulated by the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) have been noticed. One of the most important is their ability to reduce the biosynthesis of pro-inflammatory mediators and the modulation of immune mechanisms. Different studies have reported that cannabinoids can reduce oxidative stress at mitochondrial and cellular levels. The aim of this review paper was to present, in detail, the important mechanisms modulated by the endocannabinoid signaling pathway, as well as of the molecular and cellular links it has with sepsis. At the same time, we wish to present the possible implications of cannabinoids in the most important biological pathways involved in sepsis, such as inflammation, redox activity, immune system, and epigenetic expression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue microRNA as Biomarker)
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Open AccessReview
miRNAs as Biomarkers in Disease: Latest Findings Regarding Their Role in Diagnosis and Prognosis
Cells 2020, 9(2), 276; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9020276 - 23 Jan 2020
Abstract
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) represent a class of small, non-coding RNAs with the main roles of regulating mRNA through its degradation and adjusting protein levels. In recent years, extraordinary progress has been made in terms of identifying the origin and exact functions of miRNA, focusing [...] Read more.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) represent a class of small, non-coding RNAs with the main roles of regulating mRNA through its degradation and adjusting protein levels. In recent years, extraordinary progress has been made in terms of identifying the origin and exact functions of miRNA, focusing on their potential use in both the research and the clinical field. This review aims at improving the current understanding of these molecules and their applicability in the medical field. A thorough analysis of the literature consulting resources available in online databases such as NCBI, PubMed, Medline, ScienceDirect, and UpToDate was performed. There is promising evidence that in spite of the lack of standardized protocols regarding the use of miRNAs in current clinical practice, they constitute a reliable tool for future use. These molecules meet most of the required criteria for being an ideal biomarker, such as accessibility, high specificity, and sensitivity. Despite present limitations, miRNAs as biomarkers for various conditions remain an impressive research field. As current techniques evolve, we anticipate that miRNAs will become a routine approach in the development of personalized patient profiles, thus permitting more specific therapeutic interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue microRNA as Biomarker)
Open AccessReview
Role of microRNAs as Clinical Cancer Biomarkers for Ovarian Cancer: A Short Overview
Cells 2020, 9(1), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9010169 - 09 Jan 2020
Abstract
Ovarian cancer has the highest mortality rate among gynecological cancers. Early clinical signs are missing and there is an urgent need to establish early diagnosis biomarkers. MicroRNAs are promising biomarkers in this respect. In this paper, we review the most recent advances regarding [...] Read more.
Ovarian cancer has the highest mortality rate among gynecological cancers. Early clinical signs are missing and there is an urgent need to establish early diagnosis biomarkers. MicroRNAs are promising biomarkers in this respect. In this paper, we review the most recent advances regarding the alterations of microRNAs in ovarian cancer. We have briefly described the contribution of miRNAs in the mechanisms of ovarian cancer invasion, metastasis, and chemotherapy sensitivity. We have also summarized the alterations underwent by microRNAs in solid ovarian tumors, in animal models for ovarian cancer, and in various ovarian cancer cell lines as compared to previous reviews that were only focused the circulating microRNAs as biomarkers. In this context, we consider that the biomarker screening should not be limited to circulating microRNAs per se, but rather to the simultaneous detection of the same microRNA alteration in solid tumors, in order to understand the differences between the detection of nucleic acids in early vs. late stages of cancer. Moreover, in vitro and in vivo models should also validate these microRNAs, which could be very helpful as preclinical testing platforms for pharmacological and/or molecular genetic approaches targeting microRNAs. The enormous quantity of data produced by preclinical and clinical studies regarding the role of microRNAs that act synergistically in tumorigenesis mechanisms that are associated with ovarian cancer subtypes, should be gathered, integrated, and compared by adequate methods, including molecular clustering. In this respect, molecular clustering analysis should contribute to the discovery of best biomarkers-based microRNAs assays that will enable rapid, efficient, and cost-effective detection of ovarian cancer in early stages. In conclusion, identifying the appropriate microRNAs as clinical biomarkers in ovarian cancer might improve the life quality of patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue microRNA as Biomarker)
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Open AccessReview
MicroRNA Signatures as Future Biomarkers for Diagnosis of Diabetes States
Cells 2019, 8(12), 1533; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8121533 - 28 Nov 2019
Abstract
Diabetes results from the inability of pancreatic islets to maintain blood glucose concentrations within a normal physiological range. Clinical features are usually not observed until islets begin to fail and irreversible damage has occurred. Diabetes is generally diagnosed based on elevated glucose, which [...] Read more.
Diabetes results from the inability of pancreatic islets to maintain blood glucose concentrations within a normal physiological range. Clinical features are usually not observed until islets begin to fail and irreversible damage has occurred. Diabetes is generally diagnosed based on elevated glucose, which does not distinguish between type 1 and 2 diabetes. Thus, new diagnostic approaches are needed to detect different modes of diabetes before manifestation of disease. During prediabetes (pre-DM), islets undergo stress and release micro (mi) RNAs. Here, we review studies that have measured and tracked miRNAs in the blood for those with recent-onset or longstanding type 1 diabetes, obesity, pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. We summarize the findings on miRNA signatures with the potential to stage progression of different modes of diabetes. Advances in identifying selective biomarker signatures may aid in early detection and classification of diabetic conditions and treatments to prevent and reverse diabetes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue microRNA as Biomarker)
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Open AccessReview
Clinical Theragnostic Relationship between Drug-Resistance Specific miRNA Expressions, Chemotherapeutic Resistance, and Sensitivity in Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Cells 2019, 8(10), 1250; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8101250 - 14 Oct 2019
Abstract
Awareness of breast cancer has been increasing due to early detection, but the advanced disease has limited treatment options. There has been growing evidence on the role of miRNAs involved in regulating the resistance in several cancers. We performed a comprehensive systematic review [...] Read more.
Awareness of breast cancer has been increasing due to early detection, but the advanced disease has limited treatment options. There has been growing evidence on the role of miRNAs involved in regulating the resistance in several cancers. We performed a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis on the role of miRNAs in influencing the chemoresistance and sensitivity of breast cancer. A bibliographic search was performed in PubMed and Science Direct based on the search strategy, and studies published until December 2018 were retrieved. The eligible studies were included based on the selection criteria, and a detailed systematic review and meta-analysis were performed based on PRISMA guidelines. A random-effects model was utilised to evaluate the combined effect size of the obtained hazard ratio and 95% confidence intervals from the eligible studies. Publication bias was assessed with Cochran’s Q test, I2 statistic, Orwin and Classic fail-safe N test, Begg and Mazumdar rank correlation test, Duval and Tweedie trim and fill calculation and the Egger’s bias indicator. A total of 4584 potential studies were screened. Of these, 85 articles were eligible for our systematic review and meta-analysis. In the 85 studies, 188 different miRNAs were studied, of which 96 were upregulated, 87 were downregulated and 5 were not involved in regulation. Overall, 24 drugs were used for treatment, with doxorubicin being prominently reported in 15 studies followed by Paclitaxel in 11 studies, and 5 drugs were used in combinations. We found only two significant HR values from the studies (miR-125b and miR-4443) and our meta-analysis results yielded a combined HR value of 0.748 with a 95% confidence interval of 0.508–1.100; p-value of 0.140. In conclusion, our results suggest there are different miRNAs involved in the regulation of chemoresistance through diverse drug genetic targets. These biomarkers play a crucial role in guiding the effective diagnostic and prognostic efficiency of breast cancer. The screening of miRNAs as a theragnostic biomarker must be brought into regular practice for all diseases. We anticipate that our study serves as a reference in framing future studies and clinical trials for utilising miRNAs and their respective drug targets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue microRNA as Biomarker)
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Open AccessReview
Prognostic Value of miRNAs in Head and Neck Cancers: A Comprehensive Systematic and Meta-Analysis
Cells 2019, 8(8), 772; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8080772 - 25 Jul 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Head and Neck Cancer (HNC) is the sixth most common type of cancer across the globe, with more than 300,000 deaths each year, globally. However, there are currently no standardised molecular markers that assist in determining HNC prognosis. The literature for this systematic [...] Read more.
Head and Neck Cancer (HNC) is the sixth most common type of cancer across the globe, with more than 300,000 deaths each year, globally. However, there are currently no standardised molecular markers that assist in determining HNC prognosis. The literature for this systematic review and meta-analysis were sourced from multiple bibliographic databases. This review followed PRISMA guidelines. The Hazard Ratio (HR) was selected as the effect size metric to independently assess overall survival (OS), disease-free survival (DFS), and prognosis. Subgroup analysis was performed for individual highly represented miRNA. A total of 6843 patients across 50 studies were included in the systematic review and 34 studies were included in the meta-analysis. Studies across 12 countries were assessed, with China representing 36.7% of all included studies. The analysis of the survival endpoints of OS and DFS were conducted separately, with the overall pooled effect size (HR) for each being 1.825 (95% CI 1.527–2.181; p < 0.05) and 2.596 (95% CI 1.917–3.515; p < 0.05), respectively. Subgroup analysis was conducted for impact of miR-21, 200b, 155, 18a, 34c-5p, 125b, 20a and 375 on OS, and miR-21 and 34a on DFS. The pooled results were found to be statistically significant for both OS and DFS. The meta-analysis indicated that miRNA alterations can account for an 82.5% decrease in OS probability and a 159.6% decrease in DFS probability. These results indicate that miRNAs have potential clinical value as prognostic biomarkers in HNC, with miR-21, 125b, 34c-5p and 18a, in particular, showing great potential as prognostic molecular markers. Further large scale cohort studies focusing on these miRNAs are recommended to verify the clinical utility of these markers individually and/or in combination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue microRNA as Biomarker)
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