Introduction: In recent years, the high sensitivity and specificity of novel miRNA biomarkers have been utilised for early diagnosis and treatment monitoring of various diseases. Previous reports showed that abnormal expression of miR-208 in mice resulted in the development of an aberrant cardiac conduction system and consecutive arrhythmias. On the other hand, a study on infarcted human heart tissue showed upregulation of miR-208a in subjects with ventricular tachyarrhythmias compared to healthy controls. We prospectively investigated the expression of miR-208a and -208b in the serum of dogs presenting different cardiac arrhythmias.
Material and Methods: A total of 28 dogs with atrial fibrillation (n = 8), ventricular premature contractions (n=6), conduction system disturbances (n = 7), and free of heart conditions (as controls) (n = 7) were enrolled in the study. Total RNA was extracted from serum samples and miR-208a and -b, miR-16 as well as a cel-miR-39-5p spike-in were analysed with qPCR and ddPCR.
Results: miR-208a and miR-208b were not expressed in any of the samples. The calculated ddPCR miR-16 relative expression (normalised with cel-miR-39 spike-in) showed a good correlation (r = 0.82; P < 0.001) with the qPCR results.
Conclusion: This outcome warrants further investigation, possibly focusing on tissue expression of miR-208 in the canine heart.