Patricia Maroño

Patricia Maroño

Marketing Assistant

circulating miRNAs as biomarkers of cardiovascular disease

RNAs known as extracellular or circulating RNAs are RNA molecules that have been secreted outside the cells in which they have been transcribed and circulate in biological fluids. Although they were first described in the first half of the 20th century, it was not until the identification of microRNAs (miRNAs) in the blood circulation that the scientific community's interest in circulating RNAs was triggered.

miRNAs are non-coding RNAs of between 17 and 27 nucleotides that bind to messenger RNA, inhibiting its translation or promoting its degradation, thus blocking protein synthesis. Therefore, they are involved in fundamental biological processes and alterations in their expression have been linked to different pathologies. These molecules have a highly conserved sequence between species and their expression profile can be highly tissue specific. Extracellular miRNAs are stable in multiple body fluids. body fluids (plasma, serum, saliva, urine, tears, amniotic fluid, colostrum, breast milk, seminal fluid, bronchial fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, peritoneal fluid and pleural fluid) where they are packaged in vesicles that protect them from being degraded by adverse conditions such as pH or temperature changes.

Due to these biological and physicochemical properties, circulating miRNAs have emerged as excellent biomarkers in clinical practice, and numerous studies have been published to date showing their relationship with different cardiovascular pathologies. The correlation between miRNA profiles in cardiac tissue and blood opens the possibility of using these circulating miRNAs as indicators of diseases even in subclinical stages, which has a crucial role in the health of patients. Moreover, it has great potential for improving risk algorithms in cardiovascular disease, as well as in the management of health system resources.

On the other hand, these molecules have also aroused great interest due to the possibility of acting as therapeutic agents. Mimetic miRNAs are similar to natural miRNAs and can be used as antagonists of miRNAs whose levels are elevated in pathogenic situations, thus allowing the activation of gene expression. Conversely, they can be used to elevate the levels of miRNAs that are decreased, thus favoring the suppression of gene expression in pursuit of a health-promoting effect.

Thanks to advances in Next-generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies, circulating miRNA profiles of circulating miRNAs may become a powerful noninvasive tool that provides useful information for the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of cardiac diseases. However, despite the promising results, more population-based studies are needed before miRNAs can be incorporated into clinical practice on a routine basis.

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