Neuromolecular Med. 2023 Oct 19. doi: 10.1007/s12017-023-08763-0. Online ahead of print.
Neuromuscular disorders (NMD) are a class of progressive disorders that are characterized by wasting of the muscles. Some of the disorders like Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD), congenital muscular dystrophies (CMDs), limb-girdle muscular dystrophies (LGMD), and mild spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type III share several presenting clinical features, and hence, diagnosis is usually a challenging task. In this study, the diagnostic potential of some species of microRNAs (miRNAs) that are known to play roles in normal and pathological contexts of myocytes (myomiRs) were evaluated to assess their potential in differential diagnosis of NMDs. In this study, seventy-four patients with different neuromuscular disorders along with thirty age-matched healthy control subjects were enrolled. Peripheral blood samples were collected from enrolled subjects followed by miRNA extraction and reverse transcription followed by quantification of the circulating levels of the studied miRNAs (miR-499, miR-206, miR-208a, miR-223, miR-191, miR-103a-3p, miR-103a-5p), by real-time PCR and statistical analysis. The data indicated that miR-499 level showed high circulating levels in DMD patients as well as in patients with other related disorders such as BMD. However, the levels of miR-499 were much higher in DMD patients and it can be used to diagnose DMD. In addition, miR-206 can selectively differentiate between DMD and all other disorders. The results also revealed that miR-208a and miR-223 were significantly dysregulated in SMA patients, and miR-103a-3p could distinguish DMD from BMD. The expression levels of some miRNA species can be utilized in the process of differential diagnosis of NMDs and can serve as a diagnostic biomarker, and such findings will pave the way towards generating targeted therapies.