Identification of miR-34-3p as a candidate follicular phase serum marker for endometriosis: a pilot study

Reproductive Disease

VOLUME 3, ISSUE 3, P269-278, AUGUST 01, 2022


Werner Maria Neuhausser, M.D., Ph.D., Emmanuelle Faure-Kumar, Ph.D., Swapna Mahurkar-Joshi, Ph.D., Dimitrios Iliopoulos, Ph.D., Denny Sakkas, Ph.D.



To identify early follicular phase microribonucleic acids (miRNAs) that are altered in serum of women with endometriosis.


Case-control study.


Large university-affiliated in vitro fertilization center.


Women with (n = 21) and without (n = 24) endometriosis.


Serum samples were obtained from laparoscopy-confirmed patients with endometriosis.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

The differential expression of serum miRNAs relative to controls was measured using the NanoString nCounter technology and validated by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction in an independent cohort of 27 patients with endometriosis and controls (n = 24). Microribonucleic acid target signaling pathways and genes were analyzed bioinformatically. A chemically modified stable miR-34-3p oligonucleotide was used to examine the effect on proliferation of VK2E6/E7 endometrial cells in vitro.


Eighteen miRNAs were significantly up-regulated, and 1 miRNA (hsa-miR-34c-3p) was significantly down-regulated in the follicular phase of patients with endometriosis. The analysis of target signaling pathways using TargetScan predicted regulation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase, phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B, Hippo, adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, transforming growth factor beta, and endometrial cancer pathways, which have been implicated in the pathogenesis of endometriosis, by these miRNAs. The analysis of sequence complementarity identified prostaglandin E2 receptor 4, interleukin 6 signal transducer, and polo-like kinase 4 genes as possible direct targets of hsa-miR-34-3p. DSDI-1, a chemically modified stable miR-34-3p oligonucleotide, reduced cell proliferation in VK2E6/E7 endometrial cells in vitro.


The follicular phase miRNA levels are altered in serum of women with endometriosis and may be useful as reproducible detection biomarkers for early diagnosis of endometriosis. hsa-miR-34-3p is significantly down-regulated in endometriosis, targets endometriosis genes, and reduces endometrial cell proliferation in vitro. These results support hsa-miR-34-3p as a potential therapeutic target in endometriosis.

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