2013 Volume 34 Issue 4 Pages 179-188
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous small RNAs (length, 18-ss23 nucleotides) that regulate gene expression. Recently, plasma miRNAs have been investigated as biomarkers for various diseases. In the present study, we explored cell- or tissue-specific miRNAs and assessed the applicability of miRNA profiling for identifying biomarkers of tissue injuries. miRNA analyses in various human and rat tissues identified several candidate miRNAs with possible tissue-specific expression, some of which have already been reported. In the present study, we focused on pancreas-specific miRNAs, miR-216a and miR-216b. Laser microdissection revealed that miR-216a and 216b were predominantly expressed in acinar cells of the pancreas as compared to Langerhans' islet. Plasma concentrations of miR-216a and miR-216b considerably increased in a rat model of L-arginineinduced acute pancreatitis. The current results have confirmed that miRNA expression profiling in various cells is useful for providing biomarkers for cell- or tissue-specific injuries.