MicroRNAs Eyed as Possible Parkinson Disease Biomarkers

New study results suggest that microRNAs (miRNAs) could be the key to identifying Parkinson disease (PD) earlier in its progression.

Because cases of diagnosed PD have been increasing among adults aged 60 or older in industrialized countries, and because the condition is difficult to diagnose early in its natural course, researchers have sought to identify diagnostic biomarkers for PD. Previous research has shown that exosomal miRNAs in cerebrospinal fluid have potential value in the diagnosis of PD, but little research has focused on whether circulating miRNAs in plasma may have similar value.

The authors of a new study explored this question by extracting exosomes from blood samples of 52 adult patients with PD and 48 healthy control patients at Cangzhou Central Hospital in Cangzhou, China. The researchers found that patients with PD showed significantly higher levels of one circulating exosomal miRNA (miR-331-5p) and significantly lower levels of another (miR-505) than patients without PD.

The authors conclude that the results are “solid evidence that exosomal miR-331-5p and miR-505 could be biomarkers for PD, which was potentially important for clinical use in the early diagnosis of PD.”

—Michael Gerchufsky


Yao Y-F, Qu M-W, Li G-C, Zhang F-B, Rui H-C. Circulating exosomal miRNAs as diagnostic biomarkers in Parkinson’s disease. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2018;22(16):5278-5283. doi:10.26355/eurrev_201808_15727.