Led by CAU, ImmUniverse has published their results on “Dynamic changes in extracellular vesicle‑associated miRNAs elicited by ultrasound in inflammatory bowel disease patients” in Nature scientific reports

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are cell-derived membranous microparticles, which reflect the cellular and functional state of their site of origin. This proof-of-concept trial highlights the principle of induced molecular shifts in EVs from inflamed tissue through transabdominal ultrasound (US). These inducible EVs and their molecular cargo like miRNA could become novel biomarkers for intestinal inflammation in IBD. Three miRNAs (miR-942-5p, mir-5588, mir-3195) were significantly induced by sonography. Among the significantly regulated EV-miRNAs, miR-942-5p was strongly induced in higher grade intestinal inflammation and correlated with clinical activity in Crohn’s disease. Induction of mir-5588 and mir-3195 did not correlate with inflammation grade.

While ImmUniverse is also looking at LIPUS (low-intensity pulsed ultrasound) and recent discoveries suggest that specific acoustic stimuli, may potently trigger the release of EVs in the context of fracture healing, CAU and HUNIMED here hypothesized that local stimulation by routine abdominal sonography (even though the biomechanical properties of the US waves strongly differ from LIPUS) may also amplify the blood-based detection of EV-associated biomarkers like miRNAs, which are originating from cells in the intestinal tract.

Taking a pragmatic approach, they decided for a “real-world” study design with conventional transabdominal sonography devices, as potential US-induced biomarkers need to be broadly available to eventually enter clinical practice outside of specialized academic centers. The same physician performed the US investigation with the same probes and devices for all patients in the cohorts, ensuring a standardized workflow and minimized variation by the experimental design. These pilot findings will serve as a basis for further systematic trials.

To learn more, please read the whole article here.