Background: Malaria is a common tropical parasitic disease that affects two hundred million people, leading to 450,000 deaths every year. During a malaria infection, the complex life cycle of the parasite requires continuous activation and repression of various genes. MicroRNAs (miRNA) are small non-coding RNAs that have been shown to control cellular development, differentiation, metabolism, and homeostasis. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are sub-cellular fragments released by all cell types that can transfer their content, which includes nucleic acids and proteins, into target cells, thereby regulating cell-to-cell interactions. EVs derived from human plasma contain highly stable miRNAs, the level of which are known to change in many diseases, such as malaria, thus making detection of EV-derived miRNA a potential non-invasive biomarker for uncomplicated malaria.
Aim & Objectives: Analyse targeted miRNAs in EVs from P. falciparum and P. vivax malaria infected Thai patients using Real Time-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) to identify potential biomarkers of uncomplicated malaria.
Methods: miRNA were purified from EVs extracted by sequential centrifugation of 18 P.f, 18 P.v and 20 control samples. Abundance of has-miR-451a, has-miR-150-5p, has-miR-15b-5p, miR-16-5p and has-let-7a-5p was measured.
Results & conclusion: Results show significant changes in the abundance of some of these miRNA by direct comparison of CT values. Currently, housekeeping miRNA are being explored to allow better comparisons. However, these preliminary results suggest that an exploration of larger numbers of small RNA using RNAseq could expand our findings and allow the discovery of new miRNAs that could be used as potential biomarkers of malaria.