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Micro RNAs as Non-Invasive Biomarkers of Toxicity and Chemical Hazard
Nelson, G. AND B. Chorley. Micro RNAs as Non-Invasive Biomarkers of Toxicity and Chemical Hazard. Chapter 2, Saura C. Sahu (ed.), Genomic and Epigenomic Biomarkers of Toxicology and Disease: Clinical and Therapeutic Actions. John Wiley and Sons, LTD, , Uk, , 7-35, (2022). https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119807704.ch2
This chapter discusses microRNAs as biomarkers of chemical exposure and effect, including the mechanisms leading to their extracellular release and their expression in extracellular biofluids after environmental toxicant exposures in humans. In addition, examples are given of their promise for quantitative chemical risk assessment and clinical diagnostics. Finally, we explore some of the challenges that must be overcome for microRNAs to realize their full potential in environmental toxicological, clinical, and regulatory applications.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short, non-coding RNAs whose primary known function is to regulate the transcription and translation of messenger RNA. Targeting occurs through sequence specificity; however, this interaction is not limited to a single gene. Rather, a particular miRNA can regulate hundreds of genes. In addition, a transcript may be targeted by multiple miRNAs. As a result, it is estimated that between 30% and 80% of all transcribed genes in mammals may be regulated by miRNAs, depending on the tissue or cell type. Thus, alterations in miRNA amounts, even if minute, could feasibly have a large impact on transcriptional profiles. The consequence is important in terms of biological effect, as well as for the identification of biomarkers of health impact.
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