Variability in the levels of exosomal miRNAs among human subjects could be explained by differential interactions of exosomes with the endothelium


Exosomes are 30–100 nm endosome-derived membrane vesicles, that contain specific RNA transcripts including mRNAs, and microRNAs (miRNAs) and have been implicated in cell-to-cell communication. Exosomal miRNAs in blood circulation have been attracting major interest as potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers in a variety of diseases including stroke, cancer, and inflammatory disorders. Despite the progress made in the utilization of cir- culating exosomal miRNAs as biomarkers for various human diseases and con- ditions, there are still difficulties in functionally utilizing such methods in the clinic due to the high variability observed among subjects. Attempts to use miRNA signatures have improved but have not eliminated the problem. Addi- tionally, standardized laboratory practices may partially reduce variability but there is still an unknown biological factor that hinders the proper use of miRNAs as biomarkers. We hypothesize that this variability might be partially attributed to a differential interaction among circulating exosomes carrying those miRNAs with endothelial surface molecules that themselves may vary among individuals due to secondary conditions, for example, inflammation status. This differential interaction could potentially add variability to the level of the examined miRNA that is not directly attributed to the primary condition under study.