Serum exosomal miRNAs for grading hepatic fibrosis due to schistosomiasis

Pengfei Cai, Yi Mu, Remigio M. Olveda, Allen G. Ross, David U. Olveda, Donald P. McManus

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    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Chronic infection with Schistosoma japonicum or Schistosoma mansoni results in hepatic fibrosis of the human host. The staging of fibrosis is crucial for prognosis and to determine the need for treatment of patients with schistosomiasis. This study aimed to determine whether there is a correlation between the levels of serum exosomal micro-ribonucleic acids (miRNAs) (exomiRs) and fibrosis progression in schistosomiasis. Reference gene (RG) validation was initially carried out for the analysis of serum exomiRs expression in staging liver fibrosis caused by schistosome infection. The expression levels of liver fibrosis-associated exomiRs in serum were determined in a murine schistosomiasis model and in a cohort of Filipino schistosomiasis japonica patients (n = 104) with different liver fibrosis grades. Of twelve RG candidates validated, miR-103a-3p and miR-425-5p were determined to be the most stable genes in the murine schistosomiasis model and subjects from the schistosomiasis-endemic area, respectively. The temporal expression profiles of nine fibrosis-associated serum exomiRs, as well as their correlations with the liver pathologies, were determined in C57BL/6 mice during S. japonicum infection. The serum levels of three exomiRs (miR-92a-3p, miR-146a-5p and miR-532-5p) were able to distinguish subjects with fibrosis grades I-III from those with no fibrosis, but only the serum level of exosomal miR-146a-5p showed potential for distinguishing patients with mild (grades 0–I) versus severe fibrosis (grades II–III). The current data imply that serum exomiRs can be a supplementary tool for grading liver fibrosis in hepatosplenic schistosomiasis with moderate accuracy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number3560
    Pages (from-to)1-18
    Number of pages18
    JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2020


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