Aida AbbasiTehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran
Title: Evaluation of Cellular miR-122 Expression in Association with the Presence of Varicella-Zoster Virus among Central Nervous System Tumors
Background: Brain tumors are all primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors with unclear etiologies and viral infections, especially human herpesviruses, which have emerged as a hot topic for comprehensive research.
Objectives: The present study aimed at assessing the molecular epidemiology of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) and its association with microRNA 122 (miR-122) expression in CNS tumor samples.
Methods: Fresh frozen tissue samples were collected from 60 CNS tumor patients and 45 healthy controls. A nested PCR assay was performed to detect the VZV-DNA. Subsequently, the expression level of miR-122 was evaluated in the CNS tumor tissue samples of patients and the brain tissue samples were obtained from healthy controls, using a real-time PCR assay.
Results: Of 60 patients with CNS tumors, 29 were men and 31 were women. VZV-DNA was detected in 13.3% of the CNS tumor tissue specimens. There was no statistically significant association between the presence of VZV-DNA and different types of CNS tumors(P> 0.05). Furthermore, the expression level of miR-122 was significantly downregulated in the CNS tumor tissue samples obtained from the patients compared with those of the healthy controls (P < 0.05). Additionally, the expression level of miR-122 was significantly lower in the VZV-positive tumor samples as compared with those of the VZV-negative tumor samples and the healthy controls.
Conclusions: Although VZV plays no direct role in the development of CNS tumors, the virus may affect the biology of CNS tumors by decreasing the expression levels of miR-122,which consequently leads to an increased risk of malignancy. However, the experimental data are not conclusive enough; so, further investigations are needed.
Aida Abbasi is a distinguished Ph.D. candidate in medical virology at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Health, Tehran, Iran. With a history of academic excellence, she earned the first place in her class during her Ph.D. studies, where her research focuses on investigating laboratory production and quality control of Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus (HRSV) vaccine using two different cell substrates. Aida holds a Master's degree in medical virology, where she achieved an excellent score (A) on her thesis defense, concentrating on the molecular diagnosis of Varicella-zoster virus and miR-122 expression in brain cancer tissue specimens. Her Bachelor's degree in Laboratory Science further attests to her outstanding academic prowess. Aida currently serves as a Researcher Assistant in the Cell Culture Laboratory at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, a Senior Researcher in the Virology and Genetic Lab at the knowledge-based company "ReNAP," and another Researcher Assistant in the Cell Culture Laboratory within the Human Viral Vaccines Department at Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute. Aida's extensive professional skills include cell line preparation, virus isolation, various molecular techniques, and expertise in working with laboratory animals. She has contributed significantly to the field with multiple publications and is actively engaged in various research projects related to hRSV. Her commitment to advancing medical virology is complemented by her teaching experiences and notable positions in renowned institutions.