Circular RNAs: Methodological challenges and perspectives in cardiovascular diseases

Matteo Carrara, Paola Fuschi, Cristina Ivan, Fabio Martelli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Circular RNAs are generated by back-splicing of precursor-mRNAs. Although they have been known for many years, only recently we have started to appreciate their widespread expression and their regulatory functions in a variety of biological processes. Not surprisingly, circular RNA dysregulation and participation in the pathogenic mechanisms have started to emerge in many instances, including cardiovascular diseases. Detection, differential expression analysis and validation are the three critical points for the characterization of any RNA, and circular RNAs are no exception. Their characteristics, however, generate several problems that are yet to be completely addressed, and literature still lacks comprehensive definitions of well-defined best practices. We present a map of the current knowledge regarding circular RNAs and the critical issues limiting our understanding of their regulation and function. The goal was to provide the readers with the tools to critically decide which of the many approaches available is most suitable to their experimental plan. Although particularly focused on cardiovascular diseases, most critical issues concerning circular RNAs are common to many other fields of investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5176-5187
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2018


  • cardiovascular
  • circRNA
  • RNA sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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