Background: Carotid Atherosclerosis (AS) is a major cause of cerebrovascular pathology. Our study aimed to identify in peripheral blood the expression levels of several miRs (miR-126-(5p/3p), miR-29a-(5p/3p), miR-33a-(5p/3p), miR- 21-(5p/3p)), involved in AS, in patients with advanced carotid atherosclerosis. Methods: Overall 50 patients (median age 66 (61; 71) years, 58% male) were enrolled in this study, and were divided into 2 sub-groups by percentage of stenosis in the Internal Carotid Artery (ICA): ≥50% (group I) and less than 50% (group II). Clinical characteristics, comorbidities, and miRs expression level were estimated. Results: The expression levels of most microRNAs were statistically different between groups, with miR-126-5p/3p, miR-29-3p and miR-21-3p lower in Group I (5.7 (4.8; 6.62) vs. 9.4 (8.1; 11.8), 6.64 (5.8; 7.52) vs. 8.7 (7.55; 11.45), 8.46 (7.43; 11.4) vs. 11.4 (9.07; 15.79), and 9.31 (8.24; 11.3) vs. 11.42 (8.72; 13.98) respectively), and miR-33a-3p-higher (42.45 (41.3; 44.6) vs. 38.4 (36.5;43.05)). A ROC-analysis was performed which showed the expression levels of miR-126-5p to have the most predictive value (AUC=0.888, with 80% sensitivity and 95% specificity, p<0.001). Conclusion: Our findings suggest that certain microRNAs can be a potential blood biomarker of advanced carotid atherosclerosis.
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