Serum outperforms plasma in small extracellular vesicle microRNA biomarker studies of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus.

Research paper by Karen K Chiam, George C GC Mayne, Tingting T Wang, David I DI Watson, Tanya S TS Irvine, Tim T Bright, Lorelle T LT Smith, Imogen A IA Ball, Joanne M JM Bowen, Dorothy M DM Keefe, Sarah K SK Thompson, Damian J DJ Hussey

Indexed on: 12 Jun '20Published on: 12 Jun '20Published in: World journal of gastroenterology


Circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) are potential biomarkers for many diseases. However, they can originate from non-disease specific sources, such as blood cells, and compromise the investigations for miRNA biomarkers. While small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) have been suggested to provide a purer source of circulating miRNAs for biomarkers discovery, the most suitable blood sample for sEV miRNA biomarker studies has not been defined. To compare the miRNA profiles between matched serum and plasma sEV preparations to determine their suitability for biomarker studies. Matched serum and plasma samples were obtained from 10 healthy controls and 10 patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma. sEV isolates were prepared from serum and plasma using ExoQuick and quantified using NanoSight. RNA was extracted from sEV preparations with the miRNeasy Serum/Plasma kit and profiled using the Taqman Openarray qPCR. The overall miRNA content and the expression of specific miRNAs of reported vesicular and non-vesicular origins were compared between serum and plasma sEV preparations. The diagnostic performance of a previously identified multi-miRNA biomarker panel for esophageal adenocarcinoma was also compared. The overall miRNA content was higher in plasma sEV preparations (480 miRNAs) and contained 97.5% of the miRNAs found in the serum sEV preparations (412 miRNAs).The expression of commonly expressed miRNAs was highly correlated (Spearman's R = 0.87, < 0.0001) between the plasma and serum sEV preparations, but was consistently higher in the plasma sEV preparations. Specific blood-cell miRNAs (hsa-miR-223-3p, hsa-miR-451a, miR-19b-3p, hsa-miR-17-5p, hsa-miR-30b-5p, hsa-miR-106a-5p, hsa-miR-150-5p and hsa-miR-92a-3p) were expressed at 2.7 to 9.6 fold higher levels in the plasma sEV preparations compared to serum sEV preparations ( < 0.05). In plasma sEV preparations, the percentage of protein-associated miRNAs expressed at relatively higher levels (Ct 20-25) was greater than serum sEV preparations (50% 31%). While the percentage of vesicle-associated miRNAs expressed at relatively higher levels was greater in the serum sEV preparations than plasma sEV preparations (70% 44%). A 5-miRNA biomarker panel produced a higher cross validated accuracy for discriminating patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma from healthy controls using serum sEV preparations compared with plasma sEV preparations (AUROC 0.80 0.54, < 0.05). Although plasma sEV preparations contained more miRNAs than serum sEV preparations, they also contained more miRNAs from non-vesicle origins. Serum appears to be more suitable than plasma for sEV miRNAs biomarkers studies. ©The Author(s) 2020. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.