Uncharacterized rnas in plasma of alzheimer’s patients are associated with cognitive impairment and show a potential diagnostic power

Cristina Barbagallo, Maria Teresa Di Martino, Margherita Grasso, Maria Grazia Salluzzo, Francesca Scionti, Filomena Irene Ilaria Cosentino, Giuseppe Caruso, Davide Barbagallo, Cinzia Di Pietro, Raffaele Ferri, Filippo Caraci, Michele Purrello, Marco Ragusa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) diagnosis is actually based on clinical evaluation and brain-imaging tests, and it can often be confirmed only post-mortem. Therefore, new non-invasive molecular biomarkers are necessary to improve AD diagnosis. As circulating microRNA biomarkers have been proposed for many diseases, including AD, we aimed to identify new diagnostic non-small RNAs in AD. Whole transcriptome analysis was performed on plasma samples of five AD and five unaffected individuals (CTRL) using the Clariom D Pico Assay, followed by validation in real-time PCR on 37 AD patients and 37 CTRL. Six differentially expressed (DE) transcripts were identified: GS1-304P7.3 (upregulated), NONHSAT090268, TC0100011037, TC0400008478, TC1400008125, and UBE2V1 (downregulated). Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) may influence the expression of circulating RNAs and their analysis has been proposed to improve AD clinical management. Accordingly, DE transcript expression was also evaluated in PBMCs, showing no difference between AD and CTRL. ROC (receiver operating characteristic) curve analysis was performed to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of each DE transcript and a signature including all of them. A correlation between cognitive impairment and GS1-304P7.3, NONHSAT090268, TC0100011037, and TC0400008478 was detected, suggesting a potential association between their extracellular abundance and AD clinical phenotype. Finally, this study identified six transcripts showing altered expression in the plasma of AD patients. Given the need for new, accurate blood biomarkers for AD diagnosis, these transcripts may be considered for further analyses in larger cohorts, also in combination with other biomarkers, aiming to identify specific RNA-based biomarkers to be eventually applied to clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7644
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2 2020


  • AD
  • Biomarkers
  • LncRNAs
  • Non-coding RNAs
  • Non-invasive diagnosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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