Circulating miR-147b as a diagnostic marker for patients with bacterial sepsis and septic shock

PLoS One. 2021 Dec 16;16(12):e0261228. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0261228. eCollection 2021.


Background: Early diagnosis, precise antimicrobial treatment and subsequent patient stratification can improve sepsis outcomes. Circulating biomarkers such as plasma microRNAs (miRNAs) have proven to be surrogates for diagnosis, severity and case management of infections. The expression of four selected miRNAs (miR-146-3p, miR-147b, miR-155 and miR-223) was validated for their prognostic and diagnostic potential in a clinically defined cohort of patients with sepsis and septic shock.

Methods: The expression of plasma miRNAs was quantified by quantitative PCR (qPCR) in patients with bacterial sepsis (n = 78), in patients with septic shock (n = 52) and in patients with dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF; n = 69) and in healthy controls (n = 82).

Results: The expression of studied miRNA was significantly increased in patients with bacterial sepsis and septic shock. The plasma miR-147b was able to differentiate bacterial sepsis from non-sepsis and septic shock (AUC = 0.77 and 0.8, respectively, p≤ 0.05), while the combination of plasma miR-147b and procalcitonin (PCT) predicted septic shock (AUC = 0.86, p≤ 0.05).

Conclusions: The plasma miR-147b may be an useful biomarker independently or in combination with PCT to support clinical diagnosis of sepsis and equally prognosis of patients with septic shock.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Calcitonin / blood
  • Circulating MicroRNA / genetics
  • Cohort Studies
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Procalcitonin / blood
  • Prognosis
  • ROC Curve
  • Sepsis / diagnosis
  • Sepsis / genetics*
  • Shock, Septic / diagnosis
  • Shock, Septic / genetics*
  • Transcriptome / genetics
  • Vietnam / epidemiology


  • Biomarkers
  • Circulating MicroRNA
  • MIRN146 microRNA, human
  • MIRN147 microRNA, human
  • MIRN155 microRNA, human
  • MIRN223 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Procalcitonin
  • Calcitonin

Grants and funding

This study was funded by the Vietnam National Foundation for Science and Technology Development (NAFOSTED) under the Grant Number 108.06-2017.21 (Dr. Le Huu Song). The funding agency had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, and/or preparation of the manuscript.