Zsolt Fejes 1 , 2 , Judit Erdei 3 , 4 , Marianna Pócsi 1 , Jun Takai 1 , Viktória Jeney 3 , 4 , Andrea Nagy 5 , Alíz Varga 6 , Attila Bácsi 6 , László Bognár 7 , László Novák 7 , János Kappelmayer 1 , 2 , Béla Nagy Jr. 1 , 2 , *
19 September 2020
Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) represents a high risk of neonatal mortality and later neurodevelopmental impairment in prematurity. IVH is accompanied with inflammation, hemolysis, and extracellular hemoglobin (Hb) oxidation. However, microRNA (miRNA) expression in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of preterm infants with IVH has been unknown. Therefore, in the present study, candidate pro-inflammatory cell-free miRNAs were analyzed in CSF samples from 47 preterm infants with grade III or IV IVH vs. clinical controls ( n = 14). miRNAs were quantified by RT-qPCR, normalized to “spike-in” cel-miR-39. Oxidized Hb and total heme levels were determined by spectrophotometry as well as IL-8, VCAM-1, ICAM-1, and E-selectin concentrations by ELISA. To reveal the origin of the investigated miRNAs, controlled hemolysis experiments were performed in vitro; in addition, human choroid plexus epithelial cell (HCPEpiC) cultures were treated with metHb, ferrylHb, heme, or TNF-α to replicate IVH-triggered cellular conditions. Levels of miR-223, miR-155, miR-181b, and miR-126 as well as Hb metabolites along with IL-8 were elevated in CSF after the onset of IVH vs. controls. Significant correlations were observed among the miRNAs, oxidized Hb forms, and the soluble adhesion molecules. During the post-IVH follow-up, attenuated expression of miRNAs and protein biomarkers in CSF was observed upon elimination of Hb metabolites. These miRNAs remained unaffected by a series of artificially induced hemolysis, which excluded red blood cells as their origin, while stimulation of HCPEpiCs with oxidized Hb fractions and heme resulted in increased extracellular miRNA levels in the cell culture supernatant. Overall, the hemorrhage-induced CSF miRNAs reflected inflammatory conditions as potential biomarkers in preterm IVH.