Circulating microRNAs involved in multiple sclerosis

Mol Biol Rep. 2012 May;39(5):6219-25. doi: 10.1007/s11033-011-1441-7. Epub 2012 Jan 10.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated, demyelinating and neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system. After traumatic brain injury, it is the leading cause of neurology disability in young adults. Considerable advances have been made in identifying genes involved in MS but the genetic and phenotypic complexity associated with this disease significantly hinders any progress. A novel class of small RNA molecules, microRNAs (miRNAs) has acquired much attention because they regulate the expression of up to 30% of protein-coding genes and may play a pivotal role in the development of many, if not all, complex diseases. Seven published studies investigated miRNAs from peripheral blood mononuclear cells, CD4+, CD8+ T cell, B lymphocytes, peripheral blood leukocytes, whole blood and brain astrocytes with MS risk. The absence of MS studies investigating plasma miRNA prompted the current investigation of identifying a circulating miRNA signature in MS. We conducted a microarray analysis of over 900 known miRNA transcripts from plasma samples collected from four MS individuals and four sex-aged and ethnicity matched healthy controls. We identified six plasma miRNA (miR-614, miR-572, miR-648, miR-1826, miR-422a and miR-22) that were significantly up-regulated and one plasma miRNA (miR-1979) that was significantly down-regulated in MS individuals. Both miR-422a and miR-22 have previously been implicated in MS. The present study is the first to show a circulating miRNA signature involved in MS that could serve as a potential prognostic and diagnostic biomarker for MS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / blood*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / blood*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger