Objective: This study aims to explore the function of blood microRNA-15a (miR-15a)
in the pathogenesis of acute cerebral ischemia (AIS).
Methods: Blood samples were collected from healthy control and AIS patients within 72 h after
onset. A model of ischemia in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) was established
through oxygen and glucose deprivation (OGD). MiR-15a in patients and in cells was measured
using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). The predicted target of miR-15a
such as interleukin-6 (IL-6) and insulin-like growth factors-1 (IGF-1) in plasma was detected by
enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The relations between blood miR-15a and stroke
severity, stroke etiology, infarct location, stroke prognosis, predicted targets were analyzed by Statistical
Product and Service Solutions (SPSS) software respectively.
Results: Higher miR-15a levels were found in AIS patients and ischemic cells within 72 h, compared
to control (p < 0.05). Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) analysis showed that blood
miR-15a predicted stroke onset with 98.67% specificity. Blood miR-15a had a negative correlation
with National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) scores (r = -0.3695, p < 0.01). The AIS
patients with increased miR-15a levels had a better prognosis. MiR-15a was up-regulated in anterior
circulation infarction and small-artery atherosclerosis stroke. Plasma levels of IL-6 and IGF-1
were associated with blood miR-15a (r = -0.6051, 0.3231, p < 0.05, respectively).
Conclusion: Blood miR-15a associates with IL-6, IGF-1 and acute cerebral ischemia. It could
serve as a potential diagnostic biomarker and therapeutic target for stroke.