microRNAs as biomarkers in pneumonia and COPD-exacerbation – the Bioinflame study
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is the leading cause of death due to infectious diseases worldwide. Important clinical challenges for differential diagnosis are acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AE-COPD). miRNAs are small noncoding RNAs regulating the expression of single genes or groups of genes on the post-transcriptional level, e.g. implicated in infectious diseases. Our aim is to decipher the miRNA expression pattern in PBMCs of patients suffering from CAP or AE-COPD, addressing their potential value as biomarkers as well as functional agents.
In the Bioinflame study, healthy subjects and patients suffering from CAP or AE-COPD have been recruited. Serum protein markers and miRNA expression panels of peripheral blood mononuclear cells have been measured. In addition, the important CAP-pathogen S. pneumoniae was found to induce in vitro a complex pattern of miRNA expression changes in primary human macrophages. Upregulation of miR-146a seems to depend on TLR-2 engagement.
In conclusion, patients suffering from CAP or AE-COPD can be differentiated using a set of miRNAs or protein biomarkers in our study. Validation in bigger cohorts is necessary.