Isolating, Sequencing and Analyzing Extracellular MicroRNAs from Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells

J Vis Exp. 2019 Mar 8;(145). doi: 10.3791/58655.


Extracellular and circulating RNAs (exRNA) are produced by many cell types of the body and exist in numerous bodily fluids such as saliva, plasma, serum, milk and urine. One subset of these RNAs are the posttranscriptional regulators - microRNAs (miRNAs). To delineate the miRNAs produced by specific cell types, in vitro culture systems can be used to harvest and profile exRNAs derived from one subset of cells. The secreted factors of mesenchymal stem cells are implicated in alleviating numerous diseases and is used as the in vitro model system here. This paper describes the process of collection, purification of small RNA and library generation to sequence extracellular miRNAs. ExRNAs from culture media differ from cellular RNA by being low RNA input samples, which calls for optimized procedures. This protocol provides a comprehensive guide to small exRNA sequencing from culture media, showing quality control checkpoints at each step during exRNA purification and sequencing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Base Sequence
  • Cattle
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Shape
  • Extracellular Space / metabolism*
  • Gene Library
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / isolation & purification*
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Osteogenesis
  • Particle Size
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA / methods*


  • MicroRNAs