Association of miR-144 levels in the peripheral blood with COVID-19 severity and mortality

Alisia Madè, Simona Greco, Melanie Vausort, Marios Miliotis, Eric Schordan, Shounak Baksi, Lu Zhang, Ekaterina Baryshnikova, Marco Ranucci, Rosanna Cardani, Guy Fagherazzi, Markus Ollert, Spyros Tastsoglou, Giannis Vatsellas, Artemis Hatzigeorgiou, Hüseyin Firat, Yvan Devaux, Fabio Martelli*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) can be asymptomatic or lead to a wide symptom spectrum, including multi-organ damage and death. Here, we explored the potential of microRNAs in delineating patient condition and predicting clinical outcome. Plasma microRNA profiling of hospitalized COVID-19 patients showed that miR-144-3p was dynamically regulated in response to COVID-19. Thus, we further investigated the biomarker potential of miR-144-3p measured at admission in 179 COVID-19 patients and 29 healthy controls recruited in three centers. In hospitalized patients, circulating miR-144-3p levels discriminated between non-critical and critical illness (AUCmiR-144-3p = 0.71; p = 0.0006), acting also as mortality predictor (AUCmiR-144-3p = 0.67; p = 0.004). In non-hospitalized patients, plasma miR-144-3p levels discriminated mild from moderate disease (AUCmiR-144-3p = 0.67; p = 0.03). Uncontrolled release of pro-inflammatory cytokines can lead to clinical deterioration. Thus, we explored the added value of a miR-144/cytokine combined analysis in the assessment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. A miR-144-3p/Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) combined score discriminated between non-critical and critical hospitalized patients (AUCmiR-144-3p/EGF = 0.81; p < 0.0001); moreover, a miR-144-3p/Interleukin-10 (IL-10) score discriminated survivors from nonsurvivors (AUCmiR-144-3p/IL-10 = 0.83; p < 0.0001). In conclusion, circulating miR-144-3p, possibly in combination with IL-10 or EGF, emerges as a noninvasive tool for early risk-based stratification and mortality prediction in COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20048
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2022


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