In the past, differential profiling and functional studies of microRNA (miRNA) has been performed mainly using tissues samples collected by invasive methods. However, in a clinical setting, more convenient and non-invasive methods are required, such as collection of peripheral blood or other bodily fluids. Recently, it has been demonstrated that miRNAs are present in circulating blood plasma, both free circulating and within exosomes, as well as within other biofluids such as cerebral spinal fluid, urine and even breast milk. These circulating miRNAs represent a potential new approach for diagnostic screening.
- Brief review of microRNA basics: history, biogenesis, function
- Recent developments of microRNA research in extracellular fluids and exosomes
- Current methods for sample preservation and extraction of various complex extracellular sample types including exosomes
- Current methods for microRNA discovery and profiling from extracellular sample types
- Case studies and application examples