Expression Microdissection for the Analysis of miRNA in a Single-Cell Type

Ana E. Jenike, Brady Bunkelman, Kira A. Perzel Mandell, Cliff I. Oduor, Deborah Chin, Devin Mair, Katharine M. Jenike, Deok Ho Kim, Jeffrey A. Bailey, Miriam H. Rafailovich, Avi Z. Rosenberg, Marc K. Halushka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cell-specific microRNA (miRNA) expression estimates are important in characterizing the localization of miRNA signaling within tissues. Much of these data are obtained from cultured cells, a process known to significantly alter miRNA expression levels. Thus, our knowledge of in vivo cell miRNA expression estimates is poor. We previously demonstrated expression microdissection-miRNA-sequencing (xMD-miRNA-seq) to acquire in vivo estimates, directly from formalin-fixed tissues, albeit with a limited yield. In this study, we optimized each step of the xMD process, including tissue retrieval, tissue transfer, film preparation, and RNA isolation, to increase RNA yields and ultimately show strong enrichment for in vivo miRNA expression by qPCR array. These method improvements, such as the development of a noncrosslinked ethylene vinyl acetate membrane, resulted in a 23- to 45-fold increase in miRNA yield, depending on the cell type. By qPCR, miR-200a increased by 14-fold in xMD-derived small intestine epithelial cells, with a concurrent 336-fold reduction in miR-143 relative to the matched nondissected duodenal tissue. xMD is now an optimized method to obtain robust in vivo miRNA expression estimates from cells. xMD will allow formalin-fixed tissues from surgical pathology archives to make theragnostic biomarker discoveries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100133
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • methods
  • microRNA
  • tissue dissection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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