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Peripheral blood microRNAs: A novel tool for diagnosing disease?
Wang ZQ, Lu YQ, Han JX
Peripheral blood microRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous, noncoding small RNAs present in blood. Because of their size, abundance, tissue specificity, and relative stability in peripheral circulation, they offer great promise of becoming a novel noninvasive biomarker. However, the mechanism by which they are secreted, their biological function, and the reason for the existence of extracellular miRNAs are largely unclear. This article describes advances in the study of the mechanism of origin and biological function of extracellular miRNAs along with approaches adopted by research and questions that remain. This work also discusses the potential for peripheral blood miRNAs to serve as a diagnostic tool.