Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology

, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 480–492 | Cite as

Diagnostic Potential of Extracellular MicroRNA in Respiratory Diseases

  • Dhamotharan Pattarayan
  • Rajesh K. Thimmulappa
  • Vilwanathan Ravikumar
  • Subbiah Rajasekaran


Lack of markers of subclinical disease state and clinical phenotype other than pulmonary function test has made the diagnosis and interventions of environmental respiratory diseases a major challenge. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), small non-coding single stranded RNAs, have emerged as potential disease-modifier in various environmental respiratory diseases. They can also be found in various body fluids and are remarkably stable. Because of their high stability, disease-specific expression, and the ease to detect and quantify them have raised the potential of miRNAs in body fluids to be useful clinical diagnostic biomarkers for lung disease phenotyping. In the present review, we provide a comprehensive overview of progress made in identifying miRNAs in various body fluids including blood, serum, plasma, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid, and sputum as biomarkers for a wide range of human respiratory diseases such as acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ALI/ARDS), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma. Finally, we discuss several challenges remain to be concerned and suggest few disease-specific and non-specific miRNAs to become part of future clinical practice.


MicroRNAs Extracellular miRNA Biological fluids Biomarker Lung diseases 



Subbiah Rajasekaran and Rajesh K. Thimmulappa acknowledge funding from the Department of Biotechnology, Ramalingaswami fellowship, Government of India (Project numbers BT/RLF/Re-entry/36/2013 and BT/RLF/Re-entry/37/2013). This work was also supported in part by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, award number YSS/2014/000125 (to SR).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

All authors have read the journal’s policy on disclosure of potential conflicts of interest and have none to declare.


Corresponding author acknowledges funding sources.

1. Contract grant sponsor: Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India; Project Number: BT/RLF/Re-entry/36/2013.

2. Contract grant sponsor: Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India; Project Number: YSS/2014/000125.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Not applicable.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dhamotharan Pattarayan
    • 1
  • Rajesh K. Thimmulappa
    • 2
  • Vilwanathan Ravikumar
    • 3
  • Subbiah Rajasekaran
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biotechnology, BIT-CampusAnna UniversityTiruchirappalliIndia
  2. 2.Department of BiochemistryJagadguru Sri Shivarathreeshwara UniversityMysuruIndia
  3. 3.Department of Biochemistry, School of Life ScienceBharathidasan UniversityTiruchirappalliIndia

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