miRNA Biomarker Discovery

Get accurate results from Serum, Plasma and FFPE, faster with nCounter.

nCounter miRNA Expression Assays benefits
Precision & Accuracy
  • - No amplification required
  • - High specificity and sensitivity
  • - Ligation and hybridization controls
Sample Compatibility

Total purified RNA from:

  • - FFPE
  • - Serum and Plasma
  • - Biofluids
  • - Cells - fresh/frozen
  • - Pre-Validated Assays—miRBase (V21) coverage panel sets
  • - Custom à la carte sets
  • - Combine miRNA and mRNA in a single panel

"nCounter microRNA panels have allowed us to comprehensively screen human and rat tissue for microRNA profiles in our disease setting of interest. This has allowed us to select candidate microRNA signatures of interest for expanded validation and further interrogation."

- Rachel Crossland, Ph.D., Newcastle University

miRNA Biomarker Discovery

nCounter miRNA Expression Assays provide highly multiplexed, direct digital detection and quantification of miRNAs in a single reaction without amplification. They allow researchers to produce highly accurate, reliable, and actionable biological information from low amount of samples in an integrated workflow compared to other technologies such as qPCR, NGS, and microarray.

nCounter miRNA Expression Assays include up to 800 biologically actionable genes curated from the latest miRbase (V21). Assays were selected based on published evidence of biological relevance and performance metrics.

Learn how researchers have profiled miRNA in various sample types using nCounter miRNA expression assays

FFPE Tissue/Samples

NanoString’s FFPE compatible chemistry allows for tens of thousands of data-points to be generated per day in clinically-relevant sample types important in translational research.

Serum/Plasma Samples

The discovery of relatively stable, extracellular miRNAs in serum and plasma has generated huge interest as non-invasive biomarkers for a variety of diseases.

Exosomes/Cell Lines

Exosomal miRNAs play an important role in disease progression, and can stimulate angiogenesis and facilitate metastasis in cancers

Other Biofluids

miRNAs have been identified as potential cancer biomarkers due to their presence and stability in many body fluids including urine.


FFPE Tissue/Samples

Christmann R. et al. (2016) performed biomarker analysis on tissue samples from patients with SSc-ILD to find miR-155 in the progression of lung fibrosis in systemic sclerosis using miRNA Expression Human v3 Assays.

  • ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4932708
  • Luciano C. et al. (2013) found interesting integrated miRNA and mRNA signatures associated with survival in triple-negative breast cancer using the miRGE™ Assays (simultaneous analysis of miRNA and mRNA on the same sample).

  • ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3566108
  • Exosomes/Cell Lines

    Topol A. et al. (2016) used the nCounter miRNA Expression Human v3 Assay to study dysregulation of miRNA-9 in a subset of schizophrenia patent-derived neural progenitor cells

  • sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii...
  • Rodosthenis S. et al. (2016) performed a pilot study of older individuals by studying ambient particulate matter and miRNA in extracellular vesicles.

  • ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4782360
  • Serum/Plasma Samples

    Permuth-Wey J. et al. (2015) discovered novel miRNA biomarkers in plasma samples for patients with intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms of the pancreas using nCounter miRNA Expression Human Assays v3.

  • cancerpreventionresearch.aacrjournals.org/content...
  • Stylii SS et al. (2016) profiled miRNA in cerebrospinal fluid in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoidhemorrhage using nCounter miRNA Expression Human v3 Assays.

  • thejns.org/doi/abs/10.3171/2016...
  • NanoString profiling indicates differential serum expression levels of circulating miRNAs in healthycontrols and children with mild or severe symptoms of EV71. Read more in Elevated expression of circulating miR876-5p is a specific response to severe EV71 infections by Wang R. et. al. (2016).

  • nature.com/articles/srep24149
  • Other Biofluids

    Armstrong D.A. et al. (2015) profiled miRNA from matched tumor and bio-fluids in bladder cancer using nCounter miRNA Expression Human v3 Assays.

  • ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4650939
  • See the complete list of publications using nCounter miRNA Expression Assays here.

    See how miRNA fits in our nCounter workflow

    miRNA Panel

    Highly sensitive and specific quantification of miRNA in serum and plasma samples.

    nCounter SPRINT™

    Automated past-hybridization processing on nCounter systems.

    nSolver™ Data Analysis

    nSolver utilizes a variety of appropriate normalization methodologies in all samples to provide accurate analysis.

    Analyze Both miRNAs and mRNAs Simultaneously

    The nCounter miRGE™ Assay is uniquely designed to provide a single-tube, sensitive, reproducible and highly multiplexed method for detecting subsets of both mRNAs and miRNAs simultaneously across all biological levels of expression. To learn more, please visit the nCounter miRGE CodeSets product page.


    miRNA White Paper

    miRNA Tech Note

    Register for our Webinar Series

    Profiling miRNA biomarkers using cells, FFPE, and clinical biofluids

    Webinar Live during: Jun 21, 2016 at 6:00am

    6am PST | 9am PST (Seattle)
    2pm BST | 3pm CEST 5pm BST (England, Scotland)
    6pm CEST

    By Kirsteen Maclean , Sr. Field Application Scientist

    *Registration required to watch on demand.

    miRNA Expression Assays

    Off-the-shelf kits arrive at your lab with the highly multiplexed CodeSet and all of the reagents and consumables necessary to perform the assay. Kits are available for 12 reactions and multiple other scales, offering flexibility for labs and projects of all sizes.

    To receive a quote, please fill out the Request Information form.

    nCounter Human miRNA Assay Kits

    nCounter Human miRNA Assay Kits Includes 800 human miRNAs


    Human v3 miRNA Product Data Sheet

    (based on miRBase v21)


    Human v3 miRNA Gene List

    (based on miRBase v21)

    nCounter Mouse miRNA Assay Kits

    Includes more than 600 mouse and mouse-associated viral miRNAs derived from miRBase.

    nCounter Rat miRNA Assay Kits

    Includes more than 400 Rat miRNAs derived from miRBase.

    nCounter Custom à la carte miRNA CodeSets

    nCounter Custom à la carte miRNA CodeSets available for analysis of subsets of miRNAs included in species-specific miRNA Expression Assay Kits. Contact info@nanostring.com for more information.

    Contact NanoString Sales Support

    The NanoString Sales support team is excited to assist you. Get a quote today or let us help you with choosing the right biological content for your research study.