UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine; Department of Quantitative Health Sciences; Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology

Publication Date


Document Type



Biological Factors | Genetic Phenomena | Hemic and Immune Systems | Nucleic Acids, Nucleotides, and Nucleosides | Pathological Conditions, Signs and Symptoms | Population Biology | Virus Diseases | Viruses


Viral infections associate with disease risk and select families of viruses encode miRNAs that control an efficient viral cycle. The association of viral miRNA expression with disease in a large human population has not been previously explored. We sequenced plasma RNA from 40 participants of the Framingham Heart Study (FHS, Offspring Cohort, Visit 8) and identified 3 viral miRNAs from 3 different human Herpesviridae. These miRNAs were mostly related to viral latency and have not been previously detected in human plasma. Viral miRNA expression was then screened in the plasma of 2763 participants of the remaining cohort utilizing high-throughput RT-qPCR. All 3 viral miRNAs associated with combinations of inflammatory or prothrombotic circulating biomarkers (sTNFRII, IL-6, sICAM1, OPG, P-selectin) but did not associate with hypertension, coronary heart disease or cancer. Using a large observational population, we demonstrate that the presence of select viral miRNAs in the human circulation associate with inflammatory biomarkers and possibly immune response, but fail to associate with overt disease. This study greatly extends smaller singular observations of viral miRNAs in the human circulation and suggests that select viral miRNAs, such as those for latency, may not impact disease manifestation.

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© The Author(s) 2018. Open Access: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit

DOI of Published Version



Sci Rep. 2018 Apr 23;8(1):6397. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-24765-6. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Scientific reports

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.