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Critical Care and Emergency Medicine - Infectious Diseases - Pathology

Serum MicroRNA Signatures Identified by Solexa Sequencing Predict Sepsis Patients’ Mortality: A Prospective Observational Study
Published: Friday, June 15, 2012
Author: Huijuan Wang et al.

by Huijuan Wang, Pengjun Zhang, Weijun Chen, Dan Feng, Yanhong Jia, Lixin Xie


Sepsis is the leading cause of death in Intensive Care Units. Novel sepsis biomarkers and targets for treatment are needed to improve mortality from sepsis. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have recently been used as finger prints for sepsis, and our goal in this prospective study was to investigate if serum miRNAs identified in genome-wide scans could predict sepsis mortality.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We enrolled 214 sepsis patients (117 survivors and 97 non-survivors based on 28-day mortality). Solexa sequencing followed by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assays was used to test for differences in the levels of miRNAs between survivors and non-survivors. miR-223, miR-15a, miR-16, miR-122, miR-193*, and miR-483-5p were significantly differentially expressed. Receiver operating characteristic curves were generated and the areas under the curve (AUC) for these six miRNAs for predicting sepsis mortality ranged from 0.610 (95%CI: 0.523–0.697) to 0.790 (95%CI: 0.719–0.861). Logistic regression analysis showed that sepsis stage, Sequential Organ Failure Assessment scores, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II scores, miR-15a, miR-16, miR-193b*, and miR-483-5p were associated with death from sepsis. An analysis was done using these seven variables combined. The AUC for these combined variables’ predictive probability was 0.953 (95% CI: 0.923–0.983), which was much higher than the AUCs for Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II scores (0.782; 95% CI: 0.712–0.851), Sequential Organ Failure Assessment scores (0.752; 95% CI: 0.672–0.832), and procalcitonin levels (0.689; 95% CI: 0.611–0.784). With a cut-off point of 0.550, the predictive value of the seven variables had a sensitivity of 88.5% and a specificity of 90.4%. Additionally, miR-193b* had the highest odds ratio for sepsis mortality of 9.23 (95% CI: 1.20–71.16).


Six serum miRNA’s were identified as prognostic predictors for sepsis patients.

Trial Registration NCT01207531