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New Disease Biomarkers Uncovered in MIS-C, COVID-19

Signatures associated with cellular injury and death differentiate MIS-C and COVID-19 in pediatric patients

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 4, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Next-generation sequencing of nucleic acids can differentiate multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) from COVID-19, according to a study published online April 25 in Cell Reports Medicine.

Conor J. Loy, from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and colleagues used next-generation sequencing of nucleic acids (cell free [cf]RNA, whole blood [wb]RNA, and cfDNA) to longitudinally analyze 416 blood and/or plasma samples from 237 pediatric patients. Patients were classified as COVID-19, MIS-C, or negative controls (70, 141, and 26 patients, respectively).

The researchers identified signatures associated with cellular injury and death that differentiate MIS-C and COVID-19 using plasma cfRNA profiling; in addition, involvement of previously unreported cell types was observed in MIS-C. In a wbRNA analysis, there was considerable overlap in pro-inflammatory pathways between MIS-C and COVID-19, but pathways were also identified that were specific to each disease state. Increased cfDNA and solid organ involvement were suggested in MIS-C versus COVID-19 and controls based on plasma cfDNA methylation profiling. Separate, but complimentary, signatures associated with MIS-C and COVID-19 were identified in comparative analyses of paired cfRNA and wbRNA samples.

“These results provide novel insights into the differential pathogenesis of MIS-C and COVID-19,” the authors write. “They also lay the groundwork for the development of minimally invasive gene expression based diagnostic tests that can differentiate MIS-C [from] other hyperinflammatory states.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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