Circulating microRNAs and bioinformatics tools to discover novel diagnostic biomarkers of pediatric diseases

Antonella Baldassarre, Cristina Felli, Giorgio Prantera, Andrea Masotti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. Current studies have shown that miRNAs are also present in extracellular spaces, packaged into various membrane-bound vesicles, or associated with RNA-binding proteins. Circulating miRNAs are highly stable and can act as intercellular messengers to affect many physiological processes. MicroRNAs circulating in body fluids have generated strong interest in their potential use as clinical biomarkers. In fact, their remarkable stability and the relative ease of detection make circulating miRNAs ideal tools for rapid and non-invasive diagnosis. This review summarizes recent insights about the origin, functions and diagnostic potential of extracellular miRNAs by especially focusing on pediatric diseases in order to explore the feasibility of alternative sampling sources for the development of non-invasive pediatric diagnostics. We will also discuss specific bioinformatics tools and databases for circulating miRNAs focused on the identification and discovery of novel diagnostic biomarkers of pediatric diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number234
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 19 2017


  • Bioinformatics tools
  • Biomarkers
  • Body fluids
  • Circulating microRNAs
  • Pediatric diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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