Viral Micro-RNAs Are Detected in the Early Systemic Response to Injury and Are Associated With Outcomes in Polytrauma Patients

Diego 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

5 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To evaluate early activation of latent viruses in polytrauma patients and consider prognostic value of viral micro-RNAs in these patients. DESIGN: This was a subset analysis from a prospectively collected multicenter trauma database. Blood samples were obtained upon admission to the trauma bay (T0), and trauma metrics and recovery data were collected. SETTING: Two civilian Level 1 Trauma Centers and one Military Treatment Facility. PATIENTS: Adult polytrauma patients with Injury Severity Scores greater than or equal to 16 and available T0 plasma samples were included in this study. Patients with ICU admission greater than 14 days, mechanical ventilation greater than 7 days, or mortality within 28 days were considered to have a complicated recovery. INTERVENTIONS: None. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Polytrauma patients (n = 180) were identified, and complicated recovery was noted in 33%. Plasma samples from T0 underwent reverse transcriptase-quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis for Kaposi’s sarcoma–associated herpesvirus micro-RNAs (miR-K12_10b and miRK-12-12) and Epstein-Barr virus–associated micro-RNA (miR-BHRF-1), as well as Luminex multiplex array analysis for established mediators of inflammation. Ninety-eight percent of polytrauma patients were found to have detectable Kaposi’s sarcoma–associated herpesvirus and Epstein-Barr virus micro-RNAs at T0, whereas healthy controls demonstrated 0% and 100% detection rate for Kaposi’s sarcoma–associated herpesvirus and Epstein-Barr virus, respectively. Univariate analysis revealed associations between viral micro-RNAs and polytrauma patients’ age, race, and postinjury complications. Multivariate least absolute shrinkage and selection operator analysis of clinical variables and systemic biomarkers at T0 revealed that interleukin-10 was the strongest predictor of all viral micro-RNAs. Multivariate least absolute shrinkage and selection operator analysis of systemic biomarkers as predictors of complicated recovery at T0 demonstrated that miR-BHRF-1, miR-K12-12, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, and hepatocyte growth factor were independent predictors of complicated recovery with a model complicated recovery prediction area under the curve of 0.81. CONCLUSIONS: Viral micro-RNAs were detected within hours of injury and correlated with poor outcomes in polytrauma patients. Our findings suggest that transcription of viral micro-RNAs occurs early in the response to trauma and may be associated with the biological processes involved in polytrauma-induced complicated recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-306
Number of pages11
JournalCritical Care Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Inflammation
  • Trauma
  • Ventilation
  • Viral micro-ribonucleic acid
  • Wound healing/infection


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