Circulating microRNAs (miRNA) have been proposed as specific biomarkers for several diseases. Quantitative Real-Time PCR (RT-qPCR) is the gold standard technique currently used to evaluate miRNAs expression from different sources. In the last few years, digital PCR (dPCR) emerged as a complementary and accurate detection method. When dealing with gene expression, the first and most delicate step is nucleic-acid isolation. However, all currently available protocols for RNA extraction suffer from the variable loss of RNA species due to the chemicals and number of steps involved, from sample lysis to nucleic acid elution. Here, we evaluated a new process for the detection of circulating miRNAs, consisting of sample lysis followed by direct evaluation by dPCR in plasma from healthy donors and in the cardiovascular setting. Our results showed that dPCR is able to detect, with high accuracy, low-copy-number as well as highly expressed miRNAs in human plasma samples without the need for RNA extraction. Moreover, we assessed a known myocardial infarction-related miR-133a in acute myocardial infarct patients vs. healthy subjects. In conclusion, our results show the suitability of the extraction-free quantification of circulating miRNAs as disease markers by direct dPCR.
Reference: Extraction-Free Absolute Quantification of Circulating miRNAs by Chip-Based Digital PCR. D'Alessandra Y, Valerio V, Moschetta D, Massaiu I, Bozzi M, Conte M, Parisi V, Ciccarelli M, Leosco D, Myasoedova VA, Poggio P. Biomedicines. 2022 Jun 8;10(6):1354.