Biomarkers for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/motor neuron disease (ALS/MND) are currently not clinically available for disease diagnosis or analysis of disease progression. If identified, biomarkers could improve patient outcomes by enabling early intervention and assist in the determination of treatment efficacy. We hypothesized that neural-enriched extracellular vesicles could provide microRNA (miRNA) fingerprints with unequivocal signatures of neurodegeneration. Using blood plasma from ALS/MND patients and controls, we extracted neural-enriched extracellular vesicle fractions and conducted next-generation sequencing and qPCR of miRNA components of the transcriptome. We here report eight miRNA sequences which significantly distinguish ALS/MND patients from controls in a replicated experiment using a second cohort of patients and controls. miRNA sequences from patient blood samples using neural-enriched extracellular vesicles may yield unique insights into mechanisms of neurodegeneration and assist in early diagnosis of ALS/MND.
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