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MicroRNA expression in serum samples of sulfur mustard veterans as a diagnostic gateway to improve care

TitleMicroRNA expression in serum samples of sulfur mustard veterans as a diagnostic gateway to improve care
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsGharbi S., Khateri S., Soroush M.R, Shamsara M., Naeli P., Najafi A., Korsching E., Mowla S.J
JournalPLoS One
ISBN Number1932-6203 (Linking)
Accession Number29566027
Keywords*Veterans, Adult, Armed Conflicts, Biomarkers/blood, Chemical Warfare Agents/*toxicity, Gene Expression Profiling, Humans, induced/diagnosis/therapy, Iran, Iraq, Lung Injury/*blood/chemically induced/diagnosis/therapy, Male, MicroRNAs/*blood/metabolism, Middle Aged, Mustard Gas/*toxicity, Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/*blood/chemically, Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction, Severity of Illness Index, Signal Transduction

Sulfur mustard is a vesicant chemical warfare agent, which has been used during Iraq-Iran-war. Many veterans and civilians still suffer from long-term complications of sulfur mustard exposure, especially in their lung. Although the lung lesions of these patients are similar to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), there are some differences due to different etiology and clinical care. Less is known on the molecular mechanism of sulfur mustard patients and specific treatment options. microRNAs are master regulators of many biological pathways and proofed to be stable surrogate markers in body fluids. Based on that microRNA expression for serum samples of sulfur mustard patients were examined, to establish specific microRNA patterns as a basis for diagnostic use and insight into affected molecular pathways. Patients were categorized based on their long-term complications into three groups and microRNA serum levels were measured. The differentially regulated microRNAs and their corresponding gene targets were identified. Cell cycle arrest, ageing and TGF-beta signaling pathways showed up to be the most deregulated pathways. The candidate microRNA miR-143-3p could be validated on all individual patients. In a ROC analysis miR-143-3p turned out to be a suitable diagnostic biomarker in the mild and severe categories of patients. Further microRNAs which might own a link to the biology of the sulfur mustard patients are miR-365a-3p, miR-200a-3p, miR-663a. miR-148a-3p, which showed up only in a validation study, might be linked to the airway complications of the sulfur mustard patients. All the other candidate microRNAs do not directly link to COPD phenotype or lung complications. In summary the microRNA screening study characterizes several molecular differences in-between the clinical categories of the sulfur mustard exposure groups and established some useful microRNA biomarkers. qPCR raw data is available via the Gene Expression Omnibus

Short TitleMicroRNA expression in serum samples of sulfur mustard veterans as a diagnostic gateway to improve care

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