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Original article
Exosomal microRNA profiles from serum and cerebrospinal fluid in neurosyphilis
  1. Huan Chen,
  2. Yuan Zhou,
  3. Zhao-Yuan Wang,
  4. Bing-Xi Yan,
  5. Wei-Fang Zhou,
  6. Ting-Ting Wang,
  7. Min Zheng,
  8. Xiao-Yong Man
  1. Department of Dermatology, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Second Affiliated Hospital, Hangzhou, China
  1. Correspondence to Professor Xiao-Yong Man, Department of Dermatology, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Second Affiliated Hospital, Hangzhou 310009, China; manxy{at}


Objective Changes in microRNAs (miRNAs) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) are associated with different neurological diseases. Since alternations of miRNAs in neurosyphilis are insufficiently investigated, we analysed miRNAs in the CSF of patients suffering from neurosyphilis.

Methods Exosomes were isolated from serum and CSF. Levels of 44 miRNAs were determined using quantitative real-time PCR-based miRNA array.

Results In patients with neurosyphilis (NSP), miR-590-5p, miR-570-3p and miR-570-5p were upregulated in the CSF and serum, when compared with patients with syphilis without neurosyphilis (SP). miR-590-5p and miR-570-3p were significantly upregulated (p<0.001). The expression of miR-21-5p was upregulated only in the CSF of NSP. Significant downregulation was observed for miR-93-3p in the CSF and serum of NSP. No statistical difference was found in the expression of miR-7-5p, miR-1307-5p, miR-203a-3p, miR-16, miR-23b-3p and miR-27b-5p in the CSF and serum of NSP and SP.

Conclusion For the first time, regulation profiles in miRNA in the CSF and serum were analysed in NSP. We found significant differences in upregulation and downregulation. Therefore, miRNAs may be potential biomarkers for the presence of neurosyphilis.

  • exosome
  • microrna
  • syphilis
  • neurosyphilis
  • cerebrospinal fluid

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  • HC and YZ contributed equally.

  • Handling editor Khalil G Ghanem

  • Contributors HC and YZ collaborated in conducting and writing the manuscript. HC and Z-YW extracted the RNA from the serum and CSF. B-XY, W-FZ and T-TW collected samples from the patients, and B-XY performed the statistical analyses. MZ revised the manuscript before submission. X-YM designed and chose the main directions for data analysis and critically revised the manuscript.

  • Funding This study was supported by a grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No 81773318).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Ethics approval The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Second Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine (IRB-2016–023).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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