Tear Film MicroRNAs as Potential Biomarkers: A Review

Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Feb 12;24(4):3694. doi: 10.3390/ijms24043694.


MicroRNAs are non-coding RNAs that serve as regulatory molecules in a variety of pathways such as inflammation, metabolism, homeostasis, cell machinery, and development. With the progression of sequencing methods and modern bioinformatics tools, novel roles of microRNAs in regulatory mechanisms and pathophysiological states continue to expand. Advances in detection methods have further enabled larger adoption of studies utilizing minimal sample volumes, allowing the analysis of microRNAs in low-volume biofluids, such as the aqueous humor and tear fluid. The reported abundance of extracellular microRNAs in these biofluids has prompted studies to explore their biomarker potential. This review compiles the current literature reporting microRNAs in human tear fluid and their association with ocular diseases including dry eye disease, Sjögren's syndrome, keratitis, vernal keratoconjunctivitis, glaucoma, diabetic macular edema, and diabetic retinopathy, as well as non-ocular diseases, including Alzheimer's and breast cancer. We also summarize the known roles of these microRNAs and shed light on the future progression of this field.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s and breast cancer; biomarker; microRNA; ocular diseases; tear film.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Diabetic Retinopathy* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Macular Edema* / metabolism
  • MicroRNAs* / metabolism
  • Sjogren's Syndrome* / metabolism
  • Tears / metabolism


  • MicroRNAs
  • Biomarkers