- Differential stability of cell-free circulating microRNAs : implications for their utilization as biomarkers (2013)
- Background: MicroRNAs circulating in the blood, stabilized by complexation with proteins and/or additionally by encapsulation in lipid vesicles, are currently being evaluated as biomarkers. The consequences of their differential association with lipids/vesicles for their stability and use as biomarkers are largely unexplored and are subject of the present study. Methods: The levels of a set of selected microRNAs were determined by quantitative reverse-transcription PCR after extraction from sera or vesicle- and non-vesicle fractions prepared from sera. The stability of these microRNAs after incubation with RNase A or RNase inhibitor, an inhibitor of RNase A family enzymes was studied. Results: The levels of microRNA-1 and microRNA-122, but not those of microRNA-16, microRNA-21 and microRNA-142-3p, declined significantly during a 5-h incubation of the sera. RNase inhibitor prevented the loss of microRNAs in serum as well as the degradation of microRNA-122, a microRNA not expressed in blood cells, in whole blood. Stabilization of microRNA-122 was also achieved by hemolysis. Prolonged incubation of the sera led to enrichment of vesicle-associated relative to non-vesicle-associated microRNAs. Vesicle-associated microRNAs were more resistant to RNase A treatment than the respective microRNAs not associated with vesicles. Conclusions: Serum microRNAs showed differential stability upon prolonged incubation. RNase inhibitor might be useful to robustly preserve the pattern of cell-free circulating microRNAs. In the case of microRNAs not expressed in blood cells this can also be achieved by hemolysis. Vesicle-associated microRNAs appeared to be more stable than those not associated with vesicles, which might be useful to disclose additional biomarker properties of miRNAs.
- Serum Autotaxin Is a Parameter for the Severity of Liver Cirrhosis and Overall Survival in Patients with Liver Cirrhosis – A Prospective Cohort Study (2014)
- Background: Autotaxin (ATX) and its product lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) are considered to be involved in the development of liver fibrosis and elevated levels of serum ATX have been found in patients with hepatitis C virus associated liver fibrosis. However, the clinical role of systemic ATX in the stages of liver cirrhosis was unknown. Here we investigated the relation of ATX serum levels and severity of cirrhosis as well as prognosis of cirrhotic patients. Methods: Patients with liver cirrhosis were prospectively enrolled and followed until death, liver transplantation or last contact. Blood samples drawn at the day of inclusion in the study were assessed for ATX content by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. ATX levels were correlated with the stage as well as complications of cirrhosis. The prognostic value of ATX was investigated by uni- and multivariate Cox regression analyses. LPA concentration was determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Results: 270 patients were enrolled. Subjects with liver cirrhosis showed elevated serum levels of ATX as compared to healthy subjects (0.814±0.42 mg/l vs. 0.258±0.40 mg/l, P<0.001). Serum ATX levels correlated with the Child-Pugh stage and the MELD (model of end stage liver disease) score and LPA levels (r = 0.493, P = 0.027). Patients with hepatic encephalopathy (P = 0.006), esophageal varices (P = 0.002) and portal hypertensive gastropathy (P = 0.008) had higher ATX levels than patients without these complications. Low ATX levels were a parameter independently associated with longer overall survival (hazard ratio 0.575, 95% confidence interval 0.365–0.905, P = 0.017). Conclusion: Serum ATX is an indicator for the severity of liver disease and the prognosis of cirrhotic patients.
- Serum microRNA-122 predicts survival in patients with liver cirrhosis (2012)
- Background: Liver cirrhosis is associated with high morbidity and mortality. MicroRNAs (miRs) circulating in the blood are an emerging new class of biomarkers. In particular, the serum level of the liver-specific miR-122 might be a clinically useful new parameter in patients with acute or chronic liver disease. Aim: Here we investigated if the serum level of miR-122 might be a prognostic parameter in patients with liver cirrhosis. Methods: 107 patients with liver cirrhosis in the test cohort and 143 patients in the validation cohort were prospectively enrolled into the present study. RNA was extracted from the sera obtained at the time of study enrollment and the level of miR-122 was assessed. Serum miR-122 levels were assessed by quantitative reverse-transcription PCR (RT-PCR) and were compared to overall survival time and to different complications of liver cirrhosis. Results: Serum miR-122 levels were reduced in patients with hepatic decompensation in comparison to patients with compensated liver disease. Patients with ascites, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis and hepatorenal syndrome had significantly lower miR-122 levels than patients without these complications. Multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed that the miR-122 serum levels were associated with survival independently from the MELD score, sex and age. Conclusions: Serum miR-122 is a new independent marker for prediction of survival of patients with liver cirrhosis.