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188 Trajectory of salivary miRNA gene expression in children with concussion
  1. Lindsay Sullivan,
  2. Amanda Hautman,
  3. Jingzhen Yang
  1. 1Center for Injury Research and Policy at The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital


Purpose Up to one-third of children with concussion develop persistent post-concussion symptoms (PPCS), which can give rise to subsequent problems for years post-injury. This pilot study aimed to (1) monitor gene expression of a panel of salivary miRNAs over time post-concussion and (2) identify biomarkers that differentiate concussed children who develop PPCS from those who do not.

Methods Saliva samples were collected from concussed children ages 11–17 at ≤1 week, 2-weeks, and 4-weeks post-injury. Post-concussion symptoms were also monitored daily throughout enrollment. PPCS was defined as a symptom score of 5 or higher than pre-injury level beyond 28 days post-injury. Changes in salivary miRNA expression over time post-injury were analyzed using the NanoString nCounter® human v3 miRNA panel to compare children with and without PPCS.

Results Of the 23 children studied (64 saliva samples provided), the average age was 14.4 years, 52.2% were male, and 34.7% (n=8) experienced PPCS. Of the 798 different human miRNAs analyzed, 46 (5.8%) had gene expression levels above threshold in at least 75% of the saliva samples analyzed. Six miRNAs that were differentially expressed in the PPCS group were significantly under expressed within one week of injury (p<0.05). Compared to children without PPCS, children with PPCS showed significant changes in 18 miRNA expression levels from within one week to 2-weeks post-injury (17 increased, p<0.05; 1 decreased, p<0.01). Significant changes were also observed in 21 miRNA expression levels from 2-weeks to 4-weeks post-injury (19 miRNAs decreased, p<0.05; 2 miRNAs increased, p<0.05).

Conclusion Additional studies are needed to verify our findings and to examine the biological regulatory or inflammatory mechanisms of the differently expressed miRNAs.

Significance The identification of clinically-relevant biomarker miRNAs could inform the development of individually-tailored treatment plans for children at risk for PPCS.

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