Cellular microRNAs correlate with clinical parameters in multiple injury patients

Diego A. Vicente*, Seth A. Schobel, Simone Anfossi, Hannah Hensman, Felipe Lisboa, Henry Robertson, Vivek Khatri, Matthew J. Bradley, Masayoshi Shimizu, Timothy G. Buchman, Thomas A. Davis, Christopher J. Dente, Allan D. Kirk, George A. Calin, Eric A. Elster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION The pathophysiology of the inflammatory response after major trauma is complex, and the magnitude correlates with severity of tissue injury and outcomes. Study of infection-mediated immune pathways has demonstrated that cellular microRNAs may modulate the inflammatory response. The authors hypothesize that the expression of microRNAs would correlate to complicated recoveries in polytrauma patients (PtPs). METHODS Polytrauma patients enrolled in the prospective observational Tissue and Data Acquisition Protocol with Injury Severity Score of >15 were selected for this study. Polytrauma patients were divided into complicated recoveries and uncomplicated recovery groups. Polytrauma patients' blood samples were obtained at the time of admission (T0). Established biomarkers of systemic inflammation, including cytokines and chemokines, were measured using multiplexed Luminex-based methods, and novel microRNAs were measured in plasma samples using multiplex RNA hybridization. RESULTS Polytrauma patients (n = 180) had high Injury Severity Score (26 [20-34]) and complicated recovery rate of 33%. MicroRNAs were lower in PtPs at T0 compared with healthy controls, and bivariate analysis demonstrated that variations of microRNAs correlated with age, race, comorbidities, venous thromboembolism, pulmonary complications, complicated recovery, and mortality. Positive correlations were noted between microRNAs and interleukin 10, vascular endothelial growth factor, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation, and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment scores. Multivariable Lasso regression analysis of predictors of complicated recovery based on microRNAs, cytokines, and chemokines revealed that miR-21-3p and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 were predictive of complicated recovery with an area under the curve of 0.78. CONCLUSION Systemic microRNAs were associated with poor outcomes in PtPs, and results are consistent with previously described trends in critically ill patients. These early biomarkers of inflammation might provide predictive utility in early complicated recovery diagnosis and prognosis. Because of their potential to regulate immune responses, microRNAs may provide therapeutic targets for immunomodulation. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE Diagnostic Tests/Criteria; Level II.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-438
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomarkers/metabolism
  • Chemokine CCL2/metabolism
  • Convalescence
  • Humans
  • Inflammation/diagnosis
  • Interleukin-10/metabolism
  • MicroRNAs/metabolism
  • Multiple Trauma/complications
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A/metabolism


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