Pollen-derived RNAs Are Found in the Human Circulation

iScience. 2019 Sep 27;19:916-926. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2019.08.035. Epub 2019 Aug 24.


The presence of nonhuman RNAs in man has been questioned and it is unclear if food-derived miRNAs cross into the circulation. In a large population study, we found nonhuman miRNAs in plasma by RNA sequencing and validated a small number of pine-pollen miRNAs by RT-qPCR in 2,776 people. The presence of these pine-pollen miRNAs associated with hay fever and not with overt cardiovascular or pulmonary disease. Using in vivo and in vitro models, we found that transmission of pollen-miRNAs into the circulation occurs via pulmonary transfer and this transfer was mediated by platelet-pulmonary vascular cell interactions and platelet pollen-DNA uptake. These data demonstrate that pollen-derived plant miRNAs can be horizontally transferred into the circulation via the pulmonary system in humans. Although these data suggest mechanistic plausibility for pulmonary-mediated plant-derived miRNA transfer into the human circulation, our large observational cohort data do not implicate major disease or risk factor association.

Keywords: Biological Sciences; Molecular Biology; Omics; Transcriptomics.