Small noncoding microRNAs (miRNAs) are important regulators of post-transcriptional gene regulation and have altered the prevailing view of a linear relationship between gene and protein expression. Aberrant miRNA expression is an emerging theme for a wide variety of diseases, highlighting the fundamental role played by miRNAs in both physiological and pathological states. The identification of stable miRNAs in bodily fluids paved the way for their use as novel biomarkers amenable to clinical diagnosis in translational medicine. Identification of miRNAs in exosomes that are functional upon delivery to the recipient cells has highlighted a novel method of intercellular communication. Delivery of miRNAs to recipient cells via blood, with functional gene regulatory consequences, opens up novel avenues for target intervention. Exosomes thus offer a novel strategy for delivering drugs or RNA therapeutic agents. Though much work lies ahead, circulating miRNAs are unequivocally ushering in a new era of novel biomarker discovery, intercellular communication mechanisms, and therapeutic intervention strategies.
Ajit, S. K. (2012, March). Circulating microRNAs as biomarkers, therapeutic targets, and signaling molecules. Sensors. https://doi.org/10.3390/s120303359