Circulating microRNA-23b as a new biomarker for rheumatoid arthritis

Xi Liu, Su Ni, Chenkai Li, Nanwei Xu, Wenyang Chen, Min Wu, Andre J. van Wijnen, Yuji Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


MicroRNA-23b (miR-23b) is associated with inflammation and autoimmune diseases. This study evaluated miR-23b expression and assessed its potential as a biomarker of disease activity for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Differential expression of microRNAs was determined by miRNA microarray analysis in fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) from four trauma patients as healthy controls (HCs) and eight RA patients. The microarray results showed elevated expression of miR-23b in FLSs from RA patients and this finding was corroborated by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and in situ hybridization using synovial tissues (STs). Furthermore, we found miR-23b levels in plasma of RA patients were significantly higher than in HCs, and plasma miR-23b levels positively correlated with the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), hypersensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), C-reactive protein (CRP), DAS28, and platelet (PLT) count (P < 0.05). MiR-23b levels in plasma inversely correlated with the levels of hemoglobin (Hb), total bilirubin (TBIL), direct bilirubin (DBIL), indirect bilirubin (IBIL), total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) (P < 0.05), but not with rheumatoid factor (RF) or anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies (ACPA) (P > 0.05). Moreover, patients with anorexia showed higher levels of miR-23b in plasma than those without anorexia. Similar results were observed with fatigue. Appropriate treatment for RA not only ameliorated the disease condition but also reversed the elevated plasma miR-23b level remarkably. These results suggest that circulating miR-23b may be a promising biomarker for RA disease activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number143911
StatePublished - Sep 5 2019


  • Biomarker
  • Circulating microRNA-23b
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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