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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2016, Article ID 2349453, 6 pages
Research Article

miR-203 Expression in Exfoliated Cells of Tongue Coating Represents a Sensitive and Specific Biomarker of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

1Yueyang Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 110 Ganhe Road, Hongkou, Shanghai 200437, China
2Research Center for Traditional Chinese Medicine Complexity System, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1200 Cailun Road, Pudong, Shanghai 201203, China

Received 19 May 2016; Accepted 26 July 2016

Academic Editor: Tetsuro Setoyama

Copyright © 2016 Xiuli Yan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background and Aim. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been implicated in the pathophysiology of numerous human diseases including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The objective of this study was to investigate the miRNA expression of exfoliated cells of the tongue in patients with GERD versus healthy controls (Ctrls). Methods. Using quantitative reverse-transcription PCR (qRT-PCR), expression levels of six candidate miRNAs (miR-143, miR-145, miR-192, miR-194, miR-203, and miR-205) were examined across a discovery cohort of patients with GERD () versus Ctrls (). These findings were confirmed across a validation cohort (GERD, ; Ctrls, ). Differences in miRNA expression levels were evaluated using the Mann-Whitney U test while the specificity and sensitivity were obtained using receiver-operator characteristic (ROC) curves. Results. miR-203 was significantly downregulated in GERD patients as compared to Ctrls () with ROC curve of 0.94 (95% CI: 0.90–0.97). The sensitivity and the specificity of miR-203 were 91.7% and 87.3%, respectively, in the GERD and Ctrls. These results suggest that miR-203 may be a useful diagnostic marker for discriminating GERD from Ctrls. Conclusions. miR-203 testing may assist in the diagnosis of patients with symptoms suggestive of GERD.