Transfer and functional consequences of dietary microRNAs in vertebrates: Concepts in search of corroboration

Kenneth Whitaker Witwer, Kendal D. Hirschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

If validated, diet-derived foreign microRNA absorption and function in consuming vertebrates would drastically alter our understanding of nutrition and ecology. RNA interference (RNAi) mechanisms of Caenorhabditis elegans are enhanced by uptake of environmental RNA and amplification and systemic distribution of RNAi effectors. Therapeutic exploitation of RNAi in treating human disease is difficult because these accessory processes are absent or diminished in most animals. A recent report challenged multiple paradigms, suggesting that ingested microRNAs (miRNAs) are transferred to blood, accumulate in tissues, and exert canonical regulation of endogenous transcripts. Independent replication of these findings has been elusive, and multiple disconfirmatory findings have been published. In the face of mounting negative results, any additional positive reports must provide the proverbial "extraordinary proof" to support such claims. In this article, we review the evidence for and against a significant role for dietary miRNAs in influencing gene expression, and make recommendations for future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)394-406
Number of pages13
JournalBioEssays
Volume36
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2014

Fingerprint

RNA Interference
MicroRNAs
Vertebrates
RNA
Nutrition
Caenorhabditis elegans
Ecology
Accessories
Mountings
Gene expression
Diet
Amplification
Gene Expression
Animals
Blood
Tissue
Therapeutics

Keywords

  • Cholesterol
  • Diet
  • Epigenetics
  • Exosome
  • MicroRNA
  • Nutrition
  • RNAi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

Transfer and functional consequences of dietary microRNAs in vertebrates : Concepts in search of corroboration. / Witwer, Kenneth Whitaker; Hirschi, Kendal D.

In: BioEssays, Vol. 36, No. 4, 04.2014, p. 394-406.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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