Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). There is currently no single definitive test for MS. Circulating exosomes represent promising candidate biomarkers for a host of human diseases. Exosomes contain RNA, DNA, and proteins, can cross the blood-brain barrier, and are secreted from almost all cell types including cells of the CNS. We hypothesized that serum exosomal miRNAs could present a useful blood-based assay for MS disease detection and monitoring. Exosome-associated microRNAs in serum samples from MS patients (n = 25) and matched healthy controls (n = 11) were profiled using small RNA next generation sequencing. We identified differentially expressed exosomal miRNAs in both relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) (miR-15b-5p, miR-451a, miR-30b-5p, miR-342-3p) and progressive MS patient sera (miR-127-3p, miR-370-3p, miR-409-3p, miR-432-5p) in relation to controls. Critically, we identified a group of nine miRNAs (miR-15b-5p, miR-23a-3p, miR-223-3p, miR-374a-5p, miR-30b-5p, miR-433-3p, miR-485-3p, miR-342-3p, miR-432-5p) that distinguished relapsing-remitting from progressive disease. Eight out of nine miRNAs were validated in an independent group (n = 11) of progressive MS cases. This is the first demonstration that microRNAs associated with circulating exosomes are informative biomarkers not only for the diagnosis of MS, but in predicting disease subtype with a high degree of accuracy.
Saeideh Ebrahimkhani, Fatemeh Vafaee, Paul E. Young, Suzy S. J. Hur, Simon Hawke, Emma Devenney, Heidi Beadnall, Michael H. Barnett, Catherine M. Suter & Michael E. Buckland Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 14293 (2017)
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