Cerebrospinal fluid microRNAs are potential biomarkers of temporal lobe epilepsy and status epilepticus.
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There is a need for diagnostic biomarkers of epilepsy and status epilepticus to support clinical examination, electroencephalography and neuroimaging. Extracellular microRNAs may be potentially ideal biomarkers since some are expressed uniquely within specific brain regions and cell types. Cerebrospinal fluid offers a source of microRNA biomarkers with the advantage of being in close contact with the target tissue and sites of pathology. Here we profiled microRNA levels in cerebrospinal fluid from patients with temporal lobe epilepsy or status epilepticus, and compared findings to matched controls. Differential expression of 20 microRNAs was detected between patient groups and controls. A validation phase included an expanded cohort and samples from patients with other neurological diseases. This identified lower levels of miR-19b in temporal lobe epilepsy compared to controls, status epilepticus and other neurological diseases. Levels of miR-451a were higher in status epilepticus compared to other groups whereas miR-21-5p differed in status epilepticus compared to temporal lobe epilepsy but not to other neurological diseases. Targets of these microRNAs include proteins regulating neuronal death, tissue remodelling, gliosis and inflammation. The present study indicates cerebrospinal fluid contains microRNAs that can support differential diagnosis of temporal lobe epilepsy and status epilepticus from other neurological and non-neurological diseases.