High resolution of microRNA signatures in human whole saliva

Arch Oral Biol. 2011 Dec;56(12):1506-13. doi: 10.1016/j.archoralbio.2011.05.015. Epub 2011 Jun 24.


Objective: Identifying discriminatory human salivary RNA biomarkers reflective of disease in a low-cost non-invasive screening assay is crucial to salivary diagnostics. Recent studies have reported both mRNA and microRNA (miRNA) in saliva, but little information has been documented on the quality and yield of RNA collected. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to develop an improved RNA isolation method from saliva and to identify major miRNA species in human whole saliva.

Design: RNA samples were isolated from normal human saliva using a combined protocol based on the Oragene RNA collection kit and the mirVana miRNA isolation kit in tandem. RNA samples were analysed for quality and subjected to miRNA array analysis.

Results: RNA samples isolated from twenty healthy donors ranged from 2.59 to 29.4 μg/ml saliva and with 1.92-2.16OD(260/280 nm) ratios. RNA yield and concentration of saliva samples were observed to be stable over 48 h at room temperature. Analysis of total salivary RNA isolated from these twenty donors showed no statistical significance between sexes; however, the presence of high-, medium-, and low-yield salivary RNA producers was detected. MiRNA array analysis of salivary RNA detected five abundantly expressed miRNAs, miR-223, miR-191, miR-16, miR-203, and miR-24, that were similarly described in other published reports. Additionally, many previously undetected miRNAs were also identified.

Conclusion: High quality miRNAs can be isolated from saliva using available commercial kits, and in future studies, the availability of this isolation protocol may allow specific changes in their levels to be measured accurately in various relevant diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / isolation & purification
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis / methods*
  • Saliva / chemistry*


  • Biomarkers
  • MicroRNAs