What are MicroRNAs?
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are naturally released from cells into bodily fluids in response to physiological changes, such as those caused by disease, and from specific tissues. They form stable protein or lipid complexes which can be detected and quantified in samples.
Some miRNAs such as microRNA-122 are specific to a particular tissue or developmental stage and so have the potential to be used as biomarkers, for issues such as liver disease in the case of microRNA-122. Other RNA are able to be used for the accurate detection of infections or pregnancy. Studies in livestock have shown the potential of miRNAs as biomarkers in mastitis, stress, energy balance and infections.