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Parasite-derived circulating microRNAs as biomarkers for the detection of human Schistosoma japonicum infection

  • Yi Mu (a1), Pengfei Cai (a1), Remigio M. Olveda (a2), Allen G. Ross (a3) (a4), David U. Olveda (a2) and Donald P. McManus (a1)...


Novel tools for early diagnosis and monitoring of schistosomiasis are urgently needed. This study aimed to validate parasite-derived miRNAs as potential novel biomarkers for the detection of human Schistosoma japonicum infection. A total of 21 miRNAs were initially validated by real-time-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) using serum samples of S. japonicum-infected BALB/c mice. Of these, 6 miRNAs were further validated with a human cohort of individuals from a schistosomiasis-endemic area of the Philippines. RT-PCR analysis showed that two parasite-derived miRNAs (sja-miR-2b-5p and sja-miR-2c-5p) could detect infected individuals with low infection intensity with moderate sensitivity/specificity values of 66%/68% and 55%/80%, respectively. Analysis of the combined data for the two parasite miRNAs revealed a specificity of 77.4% and a sensitivity of 60.0% with an area under the curve (AUC) value of 0.6906 (P = 0.0069); however, a duplex RT-PCR targeting both sja-miR-2b-5p and sja-miR-2c-5p did not result in an increased diagnostic performance compared with the singleplex assays. Furthermore, the serum level of sja-miR-2c-5p correlated significantly with faecal egg counts, whereas the other five miRNAs did not. Targeting S. japonicum-derived miRNAs in serum resulted in a moderate diagnostic performance when applied to a low schistosome infection intensity setting.


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Author for correspondence: Pengfei Cai, E-mail:; Donald P. McManus, E-mail:


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Current address: Department of Pathology, JONELTA Foundation School of Medicine, University of Perpetual Help Rizal, Manila, Philippines



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Parasite-derived circulating microRNAs as biomarkers for the detection of human Schistosoma japonicum infection

  • Yi Mu (a1), Pengfei Cai (a1), Remigio M. Olveda (a2), Allen G. Ross (a3) (a4), David U. Olveda (a2) and Donald P. McManus (a1)...


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