microRNAs are a class of small non-coding regulatory RNA molecules, which modulate target gene expression and protein production, and whose levels often change in disease. Certain microRNAs are enriched, i.e. present at higher concentration, in different brain regions (e.g. hippocampus, midbrain), cells (e.g. neurons), and cellular compartments (e.g. synapses and neurites). microRNAs can cross the blood-brain barrier and be detected in the bloodstream. Development of neurodegenerative and other neurological diseases is often accompanied by synapse dysfunction and/or loss. Thus, microRNAs enriched in the brain, present in synapses and detectable in plasma can be powerful and patient-friendly biomarkers of brain health.
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