Cognitive deficits strongly affect the quality of life of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). However, no cognitive MS biomarkers are currently available. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) contain markers of parental cells and are able to pass from the brain into blood, representing a source of disease biomarkers. The aim of this study was to investigate whether small non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs) targeting synaptic genes and packaged in plasma EVs may reflect cognitive deficits in MS patients. Total EVs were precipitated by Exoquick from the plasma of twenty-six cognitively preserved (CP) and twenty-three cognitively impaired (CI) MS patients belonging to two independent cohorts. Myeloid EVs were extracted by affinity capture from total EVs using Isolectin B4 (IB4). Fourteen miRNAs targeting synaptic genes were selected and measured by RT-PCR in both total and myeloid EVs. Myeloid EVs from CI patients expressed higher levels of miR-150-5p and lower levels of let-7b-5p compared to CP patients. Stratification for progressive MS (PMS) and relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) and correlation with clinical parameters suggested that these alterations might be attributable to cognitive deficits rather than disease progression. This study identifies miR-150-5p and let-7b-5p packaged in blood myeloid EVs as possible biomarkers for cognitive deficits in MS.
- cognitive deficits
- multiple sclerosis
- myeloid extracellular vesicles
- plasma extracellular vesicles