Circulating microRNAs as Novel Biomarkers in Cardiovascular Disease Basic and Technical Principles


The presence of stable endogenous microRNA pools in the circulation sparked interest in their potential use as biomarkers of cardiovascular disease. Several studies demonstrated the presence of microRNAs in the vesicles and in the nonvesicular fraction, mainly residing in protein and lipoprotein complexes. There is a need to identify novel biomarkers that can not only improve the established cardiovascular risk scores and identify individuals at high risk but also gain new mechanistic insights. Early studies on microRNA biomarkers for a wide range of cardiovascular pathologies were predominately conducted in small cohorts and

A. Zampetaki • M. Mayr (*)

King’s British Heart Foundation Centre, King’s College London, London, UK e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

T. Thum, S. Dimmeler (eds.), Non-coding RNAs in the Vasculature, Cardiac and Vascular Biology, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-52945-5_5

provided the first evidence for their putative value. As these findings await confirmation from larger cohorts, several pre-analytical and analytical variables must be determined, and protocols for sample preparation, RNA quantification and data processing must be standardised before one can assess the value of circulating microRNAs for clinical practice. Here, we will review the technical challenges in assessing microRNA profiles and discuss the hurdles in establishing circulating microRNAs as reliable cardiovascular biomarkers.

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