Rapid quantification of microRNAs in plasma using a fast real time PCR system

William John Andrews, Eoin Daniel Brown, Margaret Dellett, Ruth Esther Hogg, David Arthur Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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The ability to rapidly detect circulating small RNAs, in particular microRNAs (miRNAs), would further increase their already established potential as biomarkers in a range of conditions. One rate-limiting factor is the time taken to perform quantitative real time PCR amplification. We therefore evaluated the ability of a novel thermal cycler to perform this step in less than 10 minutes. Quantitative PCR was performed on an xxpress® thermal cycler (BJS Biotechnologies, Perivale, UK), which employs a resistive heating system and forced air cooling to achieve thermal ramp rates of 10 °C/s, and a conventional peltier-controlled LightCycler 480 system (Roche, Basel, Switzerland) ramping at 4.8 °C/s. The threshold cycle (Ct) for detection of 18S rDNA from a standard genomic DNA sample was significantly more variable across the block (F-test, p=2.4x10-25) for the xxpress (20.01±0.47SD) than the LightCycler (19.87±0.04SD). RNA was extracted from human plasma, reverse transcribed and a panel of miRNAs amplified and detected using SYBR green (Kapa Biosystems, Wilmington, Ma, USA). The sensitivity of both systems was broadly comparable and both detected a panel of miRNAs reliably and indicated similar relative abundances. The xxpress thermal cycler facilitates rapid qPCR detection of small RNAs and brings point-of care diagnostics based upon circulating miRNAs a step closer to reality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-252
Number of pages9
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


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