Serum microRNA as indicators of Wolfram syndrome's progression in neuroimaging studies

BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care. 2020 Nov;8(2):e001379. doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2020-001379.


Introduction: Patients with the ultra-rare Wolfram syndrome (WFS) develop insulin-dependent diabetes and progressive neurodegeneration. The aim of the study was to quantify microRNAs (miRNAs) in sera from patients with WFS, correlate their expression with neurological imaging over time and compare miRNA levels with those observed in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Research design and methods: We quantified miRNA expression (Qiagen, Germany) in two groups of patients: with WFS at study entry (n=14) and after 2 years of follow-up and in 15 glycated hemoglobin-matched (p=0.72) patients with T1DM.

Results: We observed dynamic changes in the expression of multiple miRNAs in patients with WFS parallel to disease progression and in comparison to the T1DM patients group. Among miRNAs that differed between baseline and follow-up WFS samples, the level of 5 increased over time (miR-375, miR-30d-5p, miR-30e-30, miR-145-5p and miR-193a-5p) and was inversely correlated with macular average thickness, while the expression of 2 (let-7g-5p and miR-22-3p) decreased and was directly correlated with neuroimaging indicators of neurodegeneration.

Conclusions: Our findings show for the first time that serum miRNAs can be used as easily accessible indicators of disease progression in patients with WFS, potentially facilitating clinical trials on mitigating neurodegeneration.

Keywords: biomarkers; diabetes mellitus; genetic diseases; inborn; type 1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Germany
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs* / genetics
  • Neuroimaging*
  • Tungsten
  • Wolfram Syndrome* / genetics


  • MIRN145 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Tungsten