Davies D, Yakoub KM, Scarpa U, Bentley C, Grey M, Hammond D, Sawlani V, Belli A and Di Pietro V
Journal of Concussion. November 7, 2019 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F2059700219886190
Establishing a diagnosis of concussion within the context of competitive sport is frequently difficult due to the heterogeneity of presentation. Over the years, many endogenous proteins, including the recent Food and Drug Administration approved for mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injury, glial fibrillary acid protein and ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase, have been studied as potential biomarkers for the diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury. Recently, a new class of potential biomarkers, the microRNAs, has shown promise as indicators of traumatic brain injury. In this pilot study, we have analysed the ability of pre-validated serum microRNAs (mi-425-5p and miR-502) to diagnose concussion, in cases without structural pathology. Their performance has been assessed alongside a set of identified protein biomarkers for traumatic brain injury in cohort of 41 concussed athletes. Athletes with a confirmed concussion underwent blood sampling after 48 h from concussion along with magnetic resonance imaging. Serum mi-425-5p and miR-502 were analysed by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, and digital immunoassay was used to determine serum concentrations of ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase, glial fibrillary acid protein, neurofilament light and Tau. Results were matched with 15 healthy volunteers. No structural/haemorrhagic pathology was identified. Protein biomarkers demonstrated variability among groups reflecting previous performance in the literature. Neurofilament light was the only marker to positively correlate with symptoms reported and SCAT5 scores. Despite the sub optimal timing of sampling beyond the optimal window for many of the protein biomarkers measured, miR-502 was significantly downregulated at all time points within a week form concussion ictus, showing a diagnostic sensitivity in cases beyond 48 h and without structural pathology.