Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Looney, A. M., Ahearne, C. E., Hallberg, B., Boylan, G. B., & Murray, D. M.
Molecular Neurobiology
Downstream mRNA Target Analysis in Neonatal Hypoxic-Ischaemic Encephalopathy Identifies Novel Marker of Severe Injury: a Proof of Concept Paper.
In Press
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Human microRNA miR-374a is downregulated in the umbilical cord blood (UCB) of infants with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE). The downstream targets of this microRNA (miRNA) are unclear, but one putative target is the activin-A receptor type IIb (ACVR2B). ACVR2B is required for activin-A function and previous reports have shown alterations of activin-A levels in neonatal HIE. Our aim was to investigate the expression of the potential downstream targets of miR-374a, activin-A and ACVR2B, at birth in a cohort of full-term infants with perinatal asphyxia (PA) only, and those with PA who developed clinical and electrographic HIE. UCB was drawn and processed immediately after delivery. Levels of serum activin-A were measured using ELISA. mRNA levels of ACVR2B in whole blood were quantified using qRT-PCR. Outcome was assessed at 3 years of age using standardised developmental assessment. In total, 171 infants were enrolled: 88 healthy controls, 56 PA and 27 HIE. A statistically significant elevation of median (IQR) ACVR2B was detected in infants with severe HIE compared to moderate/mild HIE, PA and control groups (3.3 (2.943.67) vs. 0.91 (0.551.21) vs. 0.88 (0.571.38) vs. 0.84 (0.741.24), p values = 0.04, 0.027 and 0.025, respectively). Although serum activin-A levels were elevated in infants with severe HIE, this elevation did not reach significance. ACVR2B may be a potential novel marker of HIE severity. This is the first study to examine the relationship between activin-A, its receptor AVCR2B and potentially upstream miRNA miR-374a in a cohort of carefully categorised and phenotyped infants. We have shown that miRNA analysis, combined with downstream target exploration, may yield novel biomarkers for the prediction of HIE severity.
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