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Objective: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a common genetic cause of infant mortality. Nusinersen treatment ameliorates the clinical outcome of SMA, however, some patients respond well, while others have limited response. We investigated microRNAs in blood samples from SMA patients and their response to nusinersen treatment evaluating the potential of circulating microRNAs as biomarkers for SMA. Methods: In a discovery cohort study, microRNA next-generation sequencing was performed in blood samples from SMA patients (SMA type 2, n = 10; SMA type 3, n = 10) and controls (n = 7). The dysregulated microRNAs were further analysed in the therapeutic response cohort comprised of SMA type 1 patients (n = 22) who had received nusinersen treatment, at three time points along the treatment course (baseline, 2 and 6 months of treatment). The levels of the studied microRNAs were correlated to the SMA clinical outcome measures. Results: In the discovery cohort, 69 microRNAs were dysregulated between SMA patients and controls. In the therapeutic response cohort, the baseline plasma levels of miR-107, miR-142-5p, miR-335-5p, miR-423-3p, miR-660-5p, miR-378a-3p and miR-23a-3p were associated with the 2 and 6 months response to nusinersen treatment. Furthermore, the levels of miR-107, miR-142-5p, miR-335-5p, miR-423-3p, miR-660-5p and miR-378-3p at 2 months of treatment were associated with the response after 6 months of nusinersen treatment. Interpretation: Blood microRNAs could be used as biomarkers to indicate SMA patients’ response to nusinersen and to monitor the efficacy of the therapeutic intervention. In addition, some of these microRNAs provide insight into processes involved in SMA that could be exploited as novel therapeutic targets.

Original publication

DOI

10.1002/acn3.51579

Type

Journal article

Journal

Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology

Publication Date

01/01/2022