Serum microRNAs (miRNAs) may serve as multiple sclerosis (MS) biomarkers for monitoring disease progression and act as surrogate markers to identify underlying disease processes, a recent study found. A cross-sectional study comparing serum miRNA samples with MRI metrics was conducted at a tertiary MS referral center. 2 independent cohorts were retrospectively identified from the Comprehensive Longitudinal Investigation of Multiple Sclerosis at the Brigham and Women's Hospital. Of the 120 patients included in the study, cohort 1 included 41 participants (7 [17.1%] men), with mean (SD) age of 47.7 (9.5) years; cohort 2 had 79 participants (26 [32.9%] men) with a mean (SD) age of 43.0 (7.5). Researchers found:
- Associations between miRNAs and MRIs were both protective and pathogenic.
- Regarding miRNA signatures, a topographic specificity differed for the brain vs the spinal cord, and the signature differed between T2 hyperintense lesion volume and atrophy/destructive measures.
Regev K, Healy BC, Khalid F, et al. Association between serum microRNAs and magnetic resonance imaging measures of multiple sclerosis severity. [Published online ahead of print January 23, 2017]. JAMA Neurol. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2016.5197.