Pre-eclampsia predictive ability of maternal miR-125b: a clinical and experimental study

Caterina Licini, Chiara Avellini, Elena Picchiassi, Emanuela Mensà, Sonia Fantone, Deborah Ramini, Chiara Tersigni, Giovanni Tossetta, Clara Castellucci, Federica Tarquini, Giuliana Coata, Irene Giardina, Andrea Ciavattini, Giovanni Scambia, Gian Carlo Di Renzo, Nicoletta Di Simone, Rosaria Gesuita, Stefano R. Giannubilo, Fabiola Olivieri, Daniela Marzioni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pre-eclampsia (PE) is a systemic maternal syndrome affecting 2-8% of pregnancies worldwide and involving poor placental perfusion and impaired blood supply to the foetus. It manifests after the 20th week of pregnancy as new-onset hypertension and substantial proteinuria and is responsible for severe maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality. Identifying biomarkers that predict PE onset prior to its establishment would critically help treatment and attenuate outcome severity. MicroRNAs are ubiquitous gene expression modulators found in blood and tissues. Trophoblast cell surface antigen (Trop)-2 promotes cell growth and is involved in several cancers. We assessed the PE predictive ability of maternal miR-125b in the first trimester of pregnancy by measuring its plasma levels in women with normal pregnancies and with pregnancies complicated by PE on the 12th week of gestation. To gain insight into PE pathogenesis we investigated whether Trop-2 is targeted by miR-125b in placental tissue. Data analysis demonstrated a significant association between plasma miR-125b levels and PE, which together with maternal body mass index before pregnancy provided a predictive model with an area under the curve of 0.85 (95% confidence interval, 0.70-1.00). We also found that Trop-2 is a target of miR-125b in placental cells; its localization in the basal part of the syncytiotrophoblast plasma membrane suggests a role for it in the early onset of PE. Altogether, maternal miR-125b proved a promising early biomarker of PE, suggesting that it may be involved in placental development through its action on Trop-2 well before the clinical manifestations of PE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-27
Number of pages15
JournalTranslational Research
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Physiology (medical)


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