Combining laser microdissection and microRNA expression profiling to unmask microRNA signatures in complex tissues

Susanna Skalicky, Peter J. Zwiers, Timara Kuiper, Elisabeth Schraml, Matthias Hackl*, Grietje Molema

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
114 Downloads (Pure)


Neglecting tissue heterogeneity during the analysis of microRNA (miRNA) levels results in average signals from an unknown mixture of different cell types that are difficult to interpret. Here we demonstrate the technical requirements needed to obtain high-quality, quantitative miRNA expression infor- mation from tumor tissue compartments obtained by laser microdissection (LMD). Furthermore, we show the significance of disentangling tumor tissue heterogeneity by applying the newly developed protocols for combining LMD of tumor tissue compartments with RT-qPCR analysis to reveal compartment- specific miRNA expression signatures. An important advantage of this strategy is that the miRNA signature can be directly linked to histopatho logy. In summary, combining LMD and RT-qPCR is a powerful approach for spatial miRNA expression analysis in complex tissues, enabling discovery of disease mechanisms, biomarkers and drug candidates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-285
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2019


  • biomarker discovery
  • drug discovery
  • laser microdissection (LMD)
  • microRNA profiling
  • tissue complexity
  • tumor microenvironment
  • CELL

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