Evidence that exogenous dietary miRNAs enter the bloodstream and tissues of ingesting animals has been accompanied by an indication that at least one plant miRNA, miR168, participates in “cross-kingdom” regulation of a mammalian transcript. If confirmed, these findings would support investigation of miRNA-based dietary interventions in disease.
Here, blood was obtained pre- and post-prandially (1, 4, 12 h) from pigtailed macaques that received a miRNA-rich plant-based substance. Plant and endogenous miRNAs were measured by RT-qPCR. Although low-level amplification was observed for some plant miRNA assays, amplification was variable and possibly non-specific, as suggested by droplet digital PCR. A consistent response to dietary intake was not observed. While these results do not support general and consistent uptake of dietary plant miRNAs, additional studies are needed to establish whether or not plant or animal xenomiRs are transferred across the gut in sufficient quantity to regulate endogenous genes.
- Witwer KW, McAlexander MA, Queen SE, Adams RJ. (2013) Real-time quantitative PCR and droplet digital PCR for plant miRNAs in mammalian blood provide little evidence for general uptake of dietary miRNAs: Limited evidence for general uptake of dietary plant xenomiRs. RNA Biol 10(7). [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]