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This article has been peer reviewed. It was published in: PLoS One.

Volume 9, Issue 7, 16 July 2014, Article number e102259.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102259

Copyright © 2014 Teruel-Montoya et al.


Blood microRNA (miRNA) levels have been associated with and shown to participate in disease pathophysiology. However, the hematopoietic cell of origin of blood miRNAs and the individual blood cell miRNA profiles are poorly understood. We report the miRNA content of highly purified normal hematopoietic cells from the same individuals. Although T-cells, B-cells and granulocytes had the highest miRNA content per cell, erythrocytes contributed more cellular miRNA to the blood, followed by granulocytes and platelets. miRNA profiling revealed different patterns and different expression levels of miRNA specific for each lineage. miR-30c-5p was determined to be an appropriate reference normalizer for cross-cell qRT-PCR comparisons. miRNA profiling of 5 hematopoietic cell lines revealed differential expression of miR-125a-5p. We demonstrated endogenous levels of miR-125a-5p regulate reporter gene expression in Meg-01 and Jurkat cells by (1) constructs containing binding sites for miR-125a-5p or (2) over-expressing or inhibiting miR-125a-5p. This quantitative analysis of the miRNA profiles of peripheral blood cells identifies the circulating hematopoietic cellular miRNAs, supports the use of miRNA profiles for distinguishing different hematopoietic lineages and suggests that endogenously expressed miRNAs can be exploited to regulate transgene expression in a cell-specific manner.