Modulated expression of human peripheral blood microRNAs from infancy to adulthood and its role in aging

Aging Cell. 2014 Aug;13(4):679-89. doi: 10.1111/acel.12225. Epub 2014 May 6.


Accumulating evidence suggests a role for microRNAs (miRNAs) in regulating various processes of mammalian postnatal development and aging. To investigate the changes in blood-based miRNA expression from preterm infants to adulthood, we compared 365 miRNA expression profiles in a screening set of preterm infants and adults. Approximately one-third of the miRNAs were constantly expressed from postnatal development to adulthood, another one-third were differentially expressed between preterm infants and adults, and the remaining one-third were not detectable in these two groups. Based on their expression in infants and adults, the miRNAs were categorized into five classes, and six of the seven miRNAs chosen from each class except one with age-constant expression were confirmed in a validation set containing infants, children, and adults. Comparing the chromosomal locations of the different miRNA classes revealed two hot spots: the miRNA cluster on 14q32.31 exhibited age-constant expression, and the one on 9q22.21 exhibited up-regulation in adults. Furthermore, six miRNAs detectable in adults were down-regulated in older adults, and four chosen for individual quantification were verified in the validation set. Analysis of the network functions revealed that differentially regulated miRNAs between infants and adults and miRNAs that decreased during aging shared two network functions: inflammatory disease and inflammatory response. Four expression patterns existed in the 11 miRNAs from infancy to adulthood, with a significant transition in ages 9-20 years. Our results provide an overview on the regulation pattern of blood miRNAs throughout life and the possible biological functions performed by different classes of miRNAs.

Keywords: aging; development; gene expression profiling; microRNA; network function; peripheral blood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aging / blood*
  • Aging / genetics*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromosomes, Human / genetics
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Gene Regulatory Networks / genetics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • MicroRNAs / blood*
  • MicroRNAs / classification
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*


  • MicroRNAs