First trimester screening of circulating C19MC microRNAs and the evaluation of their potential to predict the onset of preeclampsia and IUGR

PLoS One. 2017 Feb 9;12(2):e0171756. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0171756. eCollection 2017.


Objectives: A nested case control study of a longitudinal cohort comparing pregnant women enrolled at 10 to 13 gestational weeks was carried out to evaluate risk assessment for preeclampsia and IUGR based on circulating placental specific C19MC microRNAs in early pregnancy.

Methods: The expression of placental specific C19MC microRNAs (miR-516b-5p, miR-517-5p, miR-518b, miR-520a-5p, miR-520h, and miR-525-5p) was determined in plasma samples from pregnancies that subsequently developed preeclampsia (n = 21), IUGR (n = 18), and 58 normal pregnancies using real-time PCR and comparative Ct method relative to synthetic Caenorhabditis elegans microRNA (cel-miR-39).

Results: Circulating C19MC microRNAs were up-regulated (miR-517-5p, p = 0.005; miR-518b, p = 0.013; miR-520h, p = 0.021) or showed a trend toward up-regulation in patients destined to develop preeclampsia (miR-520a-5p, p = 0.067; miR-525-5p, p = 0.073). MiR-517-5p had the best predictive performance for preeclampsia with a sensitivity of 42.9%, a specificity of 86.2%, a PPV of 52.9% and a NPV of 80.6%. The combination of all examined circulating C19MC microRNAs had no advantage over using only the miR-517-5p biomarker to predict the occurrence of preeclampsia (a sensitivity of 20.6%, a specificity of 90.8%, a PPV of 44.8%, and a NPV of 76.0%).

Conclusions: Up-regulation of miR-517-5p, miR-518b and miR-520h was associated with a risk of later development of preeclampsia. First trimester screening of extracellular miR-517-5p identified a proportion of women with subsequent preeclampsia. No circulating C19MC microRNA biomarkers were identified that could predict later occurrence of IUGR.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / blood
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / diagnosis*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / blood*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / blood
  • Pre-Eclampsia / diagnosis*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First / blood*
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods


  • Biomarkers
  • MicroRNAs

Grant support

Work was supported by the Charles University research program PRVOUK P32 and PROGRES Q34. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.