Salivary miRNAome profiling uncovers epithelial and proliferative miRNAs with differential expression across dentition stages

Amanda Formosa, Maria Cristina Piro, Raffaella Docimo, Paolo Maturo, Daniela Rita Maria Sollecito, Murugan Kalimutho, Giulia Sancesario, Alberto Barlattani, Gerry Melino, Eleonora Candi, Sergio Bernardini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Saliva's ability to mirror the internal physiological environment of an organism coupled with its facile accessibility makes it an attractive diagnostic medium. The finding of microRNAs (miRNAs) in saliva has expanded the field of biomarker discovery since these tiny non-coding RNAs affect various physiological processes and diseases. Few reports have linked miRNAs to tooth development and eruption, with none having studied this in humans. As a first initiative to describe miRNAs in saliva whose modulations may reflect developing and erupting teeth, we quantified the levels of 730 miRNAs in the saliva of children of varying dentition stages: edentulous (newborns), deciduous and permanent by megaplex stemloop reverse-transcription quantitative PCR. The three groups expressed 193, 181 and 192 miRNAs, respectively, where 125 miRNAs had consistent expression. The remaining miRNAs had inter-group variations from 5 to hundreds of fold, where most had either an increasing or decreasing trend in going from edentulous to deciduous to permanent. A literature survey of epithelial miRNAs found most were present in saliva. Moreover, most miRNAs with expression differences between groups had previously documented functions in proliferation, cell cycle, apoptosis and other cellular behaviors key to the dynamics of tooth morphogenesis. Lastly, miRNAs of the same family, such as the let-7 and miR-200 families, or transcribed from the same hairpin, had similar expression patterns. The results presented here should serve as a salivary miRNA dictionary for future studies in tooth development as well as in childhood diseases associated with modulations in saliva composition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3359-3368
Number of pages10
JournalCell Cycle
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2011


  • Biomarker
  • Dentition
  • Megaplex stemloop RT-qPCR
  • miRNA
  • Saliva
  • Tooth development
  • Tooth eruption
  • Tooth morphogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology

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