Haemolysis Detection in MicroRNA-Seq from Clinical Plasma Samples

Melanie D. Smith, Shalem Y. Leemaqz, Tanja Jankovic-Karasoulos, Dale McAninch, Dylan McCullough, James Breen, Claire Roberts, Katherine Pillman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
57 Downloads (Pure)


The abundance of cell-free microRNA (miRNA) has been measured in blood plasma and proposed as a source of novel, minimally invasive biomarkers for several diseases. Despite improvements in quantification methods, there is no consensus regarding how haemolysis affects plasma miRNA content. We propose a method for haemolysis detection in miRNA high-throughput sequencing (HTS) data from libraries prepared using human plasma. To establish a miRNA haemolysis signature we tested differential miRNA abundance between plasma samples with known haemolysis status. Using these miRNAs with statistically significant higher abundance in our haemolysed group, we further refined the set to reveal high-confidence haemolysis association. Given our specific context, i.e., women of reproductive age, we also tested for significant differences between pregnant and non-pregnant groups. We report a novel 20-miRNA signature used to identify the presence of haemolysis in silico in HTS miRNA-sequencing data. Further, we validated the signature set using firstly an all-male cohort (prostate cancer) and secondly a mixed male and female cohort (radiographic knee osteoarthritis). Conclusion: Given the potential for haemolysis contamination, we recommend that assays for haemolysis detection become standard pre-analytical practice and provide here a simple method for haemolysis detection.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1288
Number of pages15
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • microRNA
  • plasma
  • biomarker
  • prediction
  • haemolysis
  • bioinformatics


Dive into the research topics of 'Haemolysis Detection in MicroRNA-Seq from Clinical Plasma Samples'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this