Investigating microRNAs as biomarkers in disorders of consciousness: a longitudinal multicenter study

Sci Rep. 2023 Oct 27;13(1):18415. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-45719-7.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in gene regulation and may affect secondary brain injury and recovery in patients with disorders of consciousness (DoC). This study investigated the role of five miRNAs (150-5p, 132-3p, 23b-3p, 451a, and 16-5p) in prolonged DoC. miRNA levels were assessed in serum samples from 30 patients with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome or minimally conscious state due to traumatic or hypoxic-ischemic brain injury (TBI, HIBI) at baseline (1-3 months) and 6 months post-injury. Patients' diagnoses were determined using the Coma Recovery Scale revised, and functional outcomes were evaluated 6 months after injury with the Glasgow Outcome Scale Extended (GOSE) and the Functional Independence Measure (FIM). Compared to healthy controls, patients with TBI had lower levels of miRNAs 150-5p, 132-3p, and 23b-3p at baseline, while patients with HIBI had lower levels of miRNA 150-5p at baseline and 6 months post-injury and a reduction of miRNA 451a at baseline. Higher levels of miRNAs 132-3p and 23b-3p were associated with better outcomes in TBI patients as indicated by GOSE and FIM scores. This study highlights distinct miRNA dysregulated patterns in patients with prolonged DoC, dependent on etiology and post-injury time, and suggests that miRNAs 132-3p and 23b-3p may serve as prognostic biomarkers.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Brain Injuries*
  • Coma / complications
  • Consciousness Disorders
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs* / genetics


  • MicroRNAs
  • Biomarkers
  • MIRN150 microRNA, human