Blood microRNAs in Low or No Risk Ischemic Stroke Patients.

Blood microRNAs in Low or No Risk Ischemic Stroke Patients.

Department of Biochemistry and Neuroscience Research Centre, Centre for Translational Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, 8 Medical Drive, 117597, Singapore.



Ischemic stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. The pathology is further complicated with various subtypes of stroke such as large artery, cardio-embolic or lacunar strokes as well as risk factors including hypertension, dyslipidemia and type 2 diabetes.

As accurate diagnosis and therapeutic intervention are critical for management of ischemic stroke patients, there is a need for a precise diagnostic tool. Recently it has been shown that microRNAs circulating in blood exhibit differential expression in ischemic stroke patients. Hence, this study aims to investigate the blood microRNA profiles of low/no risk patients, as the condition is free from the influence of confounding risk factors.


We identified microRNAs that showed differential expression specific to the various stroke subtypes. In silico analysis was performed using these microRNAs and it showed that relevant pathways associated with specific stroke subtypes were affected. Furthermore, we identified microRNAs associated with the functional outcome of stroke patients. Several validated targets of these microRNAs are involved in regulating cell death, a critical factor in determining the functional outcome of ischemic stroke patients.

In addition, this study showed that stroke associated risk factors (hypertension, dyslipidemia and type 2 diabetes) can also influence the expression of blood microRNAs, whereby significant differences were seen in the microRNA profiles of low/no risk ischemic stroke and ischemic stroke with pre-existing risk factors (published data).


This study demonstrates the potential application of blood microRNAs as a diagnostic and prognostic tool for ischemic stroke. Furthermore, it emphasized that pre-existing risk factors can potentially affect the expression of blood microRNAs. This fact is critical in the development of blood microRNAs as diagnostics in clinical applications.