Research points to the feasibility of microRNAs as diagnostic biomarkers of heart disease in dogs and cats

By Marcela Wolf, Master Degree Student of Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba, PR, Brazil

Scientific article published in the journal Ciência Rural (Vol. 47, No.7), entitled “MicroRNAs in Veterinary Cardiology” compiled data from the main scientific evidence using microRNAs as biomarkers in various heart diseases in dogs and cats.

The use of biomarkers is an important recent development in veterinary medicine. Biomarkers allow non-invasive quantification of substances with diagnostic and prognostic potential in several diseases and increasingly, there is the emergence of new evidence that shows that the alteration in the expression of microRNAs is involved in the pathogenesis of several diseases, demonstrating its potential biomarker.

MicroRNAs are small, non-coding, endogenous RNAs that modulate a large and complex set of gene expression. MicroRNAs are potentially involved in a wide range of biological and pathological events. They are composed of approximately 19 to 25 nucleotides (ZHANG, et al., 2015). In recent years, there has been an increased interest in genetic and genomic markers of heart diseases and the evaluation of microRNAs expression may provide information for their use as biomarkers (IKEDA; PU, 2010; ORENES-PIÑERO, et al., 2015), besides being able to collaborate in the understanding of etiopathogenesis and new therapeutic approaches in veterinary cardiology.

The researchers of Federal University of Paraná performed a literature review of the area studies, compiling several scientific evidence of the feasibility of evaluating the expression of microRNAs in various heart diseases in dogs and cats. They found that in some cases these elements can be used as diagnostic biomarkers, since some microRNAs are overexpressed in some diseases and some are underexpressed, and may be different even depending on the stage of the disease, and thus can be used as prognostic evaluation factors and even as possible promises in the therapeutic field. In addition, microRNAs would also help to clarify the pathophysiology of some heart diseases not yet fully understood in dogs and cats, like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy of cats (WEBER , et al., 2015).

According to researcher Marcela Wolf, several biomarkers are already recognized and used in veterinary medicine, especially in veterinary cardiology. “This research shows new horizons in the field of cardiac biomarkers, being useful for the diagnosis, understanding of etiopathogenesis and therapeutic approach in veterinary cardiology” she said.


IKEDA, S. and PU, W.T. Expression and function of MicroRNAs in heart disease. Current Drug Targets [online]. 2010, vol. 11, no. 8, pp. 913-925, ISSN: 1873-5592 [viewed 18 August 2017]. DOI: 1389-4501/10 $55.00+.00. Available from:

ORENES-PIÑERO, E., et al. Novel biomarkers in cardiology: MicroRNAs in atrial fibrillation. Archivos de Cardiología de México [online]. 2015, vol. 85, no. 3, pp. 225-229, ISSN: 1405-9940. DOI: 10.1016/j.acmx.2015.01.005 [viewed 18 August 2017]. Available from:

WEBER, K., et al. Serum microRNA profiles in cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry [online]. 2015, vol. 402, pp. 171-180, ISSN: 1573-4919 [viewed 18 August 2017]. DOI: 10.1007/s11010-014-2324-8. Available from:

ZHANG, Y. , et al. MicroRNA profiling of atrial fibrillation in canines: MiR-206 modulates intrinsic cardiac autonomic nerve remodeling by regulating SOD1. PloS one [online]. 2015, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 1-16, ISSN: 1932-6203 [viewed 18 August 2017]. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122674. Available from:

To read the article, access it:

WOLF, M., MUEHLBAUER, E. and SOUSA, M. G. MicroRNAs in veterinary cardiology. Cienc. Rural [online]. 2017, vol. 47, no. 7, e20161059, ISSN: 1678-4596 [viewed 18 August 2017]. DOI: 10.1590/0103-8478cr20161059. Available from:

External link

Ciência Rural – CR: <>


Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

WOLF, M. Research points to the feasibility of microRNAs as diagnostic biomarkers of heart disease in dogs and cats [online]. SciELO in Perspective | Press Releases, 2017 [viewed ]. Available from:


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