Friday, November 7, 2014

‘Treasure in saliva” may reveal deadly diseases early enough to treat them

News Brief by Catherine Donlon
Scientists at UCLA have been studying RNA in human saliva. They have discovered that many of the RNAs in saliva are similar to those found in blood and other bodily fluids, suggesting that there may be another way to detect diseases. During this study, about 165 million genetic sequences of RNA in human saliva were studied. They found multiple different kinds of RNA, including circular RNA, microRNA, piwi-interacting RNA, and non-coding RNA. Circular RNAs are not yet completely understood but they may help to protect other RNAs like microRNAs, from being degraded, especially in the hostile environment of the mouth. MicroRNAs are small RNA molecules that have a wide variety of roles in many types of cells.  Like circular RNAs, piwi-interacting RNAs are also not entirely understood, however the researchers suggest that perhaps they could help protect from viral infections. There are not many piwi-interacting RNAs in blood, but many were found in the saliva.

Lastly there were non-coding RNAs which do not code for proteins.
The variety of RNAs can serve as biomarkers for many diseases. They suggest that in the future doctors and dentists could analyze saliva in order to help prevent or treat different diseases. The scientists also believe that self-diagnostic devices could be produced in order for patients to analyze their own saliva.

University of California - Los Angeles. "'Treasure in saliva' may reveal deadly diseases early enough to treat them." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 October 2014. .

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