Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the significance of circulating micro RNAs (miRNAs) in the pathogenesis of reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS).
Methods: We prospectively recruited 3 independent cohorts of patients with RCVS and age-matched and sex-matched controls in a single medical center. Next-generation small RNA sequencing followed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to identify and validate differentially expressed miRNAs, which was cross-validated in migraine patients in ictal stage or interictal stage. Computational analysis was used to predict the target genes of miRNAs, followed by in vitro functional analysis.
Results: We identified a panel of miRNAs including miR-130a-3p, miR-130b-3p, let-7a-5p, let-7b-5p, and let-7f-5p that well differentiated patients with RCVS from controls (area under the receiver operating characteristics curve [AUC] was 0.906, 0.890, and 0.867 in the 3 cohorts, respectively). The abundance of let-7a-5p, let-7b-5p, and let-7f-5p, but not miR-130a-3p nor miR-130b-3p, was significantly higher in patients with ictal migraine compared with that of controls and patients with interictal migraine. Target prediction and pathway enrichment analysis suggested that the transforming growth factor-β signaling pathway and endothelin-1 responsible for vasomotor control might link these miRNAs to RCVS pathogenesis, which was confirmed in vitro by transfecting miRNAs mimics or incubating the patients' cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in 3 different vascular endothelial cells. Moreover, miR-130a-3p was associated with imaging-proven disruption of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in patients with RCVS and its overexpression led to reduced transendothelial electrical resistance (ie, increased permeability) in in vitro human BBB model.
Interpretation: We identified the circulating miRNA signatures associated with RCVS, which may be functionally linked to its headache, BBB integrity, and vasomotor function. ANN NEUROL 2021;89:459-473.
© 2020 American Neurological Association.