Atwan, H., Assarehzadegan, M. A., Shekarabi, M., Jazayeri, S. M., Barfi, S., Shoormasti, R. S., … & Tayebi, B. (2020). Assessment of miR-181b-5p, miR-23a-3p, BCL-2, and IL-6 in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells of Autistic Patients; Likelihood of Reliable Biomarkers. Iranian Journal of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 74-83.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is recognized by stereotypic and repetitive behaviors after 2 years of old. Dysregulation of the immune system, especially inflammation which is mostly regulated by IL-6, imposes a deficit in CNS development. Along with this crucial biomarker, researchers have proposed BCL-2, micro RNA-23a-3p (miR-23a-3p), miR-181b-5p as other probable biomarkers involved in inflammation and apoptosis. The aim of the study was to evaluate the alteration in the expression of these biomarkers in a group of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) children. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were obtained from 37 autistic patients. After RNA extraction with precipitation method, the Syber green qReal-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) was performed in order to evaluate the possible alteration in the expression of IL-6, BCL-2, miR-181b-5p, and miR-23a-3p. The results were compared with healthy controls. IL-6 was significantly upregulated in ASD patients (p=0.003). On the other hand, miR-23a was upregulated and BCL-2 downregulated in ASD patients but the changes were not significant. In initial evaluations, expression changes of miR-181b-5p were not statistically significant. However, when Patients were divided into two groups of upregulated and downregulated, re-evaluation showed that both up- (p=0.005) and down-regulation (p=0.004) (i.e. changes regardless of the direction) of miR-181b were significant in autistic children. IL-6 and miR-181b-5p can have proper diagnostic values and are reliable biomarkers with high sensitivity and specificity. On the other hand, PBMC can be utilized for such studies and also evaluation of patients’ condition instead of brain tissue as it is less accessible.