Background.  Recently, increased evidence has shown that serum micro (mi)RNA levels are a useful biomarker for the diagnosis, prognosis and therapeutic value of various diseases. However, serum miRNA has not been investigated in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc), to our knowledge.

Aim.  To investigate the possibility that serum levels of Homo sapiens miR-142 stem-loop (hsa-miR-142-3p), one of the miRNAs regulating the expression of integrin αV, could be a specific disease marker for SSc.

Methods.  Serum samples were obtained from 61 patients with SSc and 20 healthy controls. Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), dermatomyositis (DM) and scleroderma spectrum disorder (SSD), who did not fulfil American College of Rheumatology criteria for SSc but might develop SSc in the future, were included as disease controls in this study. miRNAs were purified from serum, and miR-142-3p levels were measured with a quantitative real-time PCR assay.

Results.  Serum miR-142-3p levels in patients with SSc were significantly higher than in patients with SSD, SLE or DM, and healthy control groups. Patients with increased miR-142-3p levels tended to have a short sublingual frenulum.

Conclusions.  Our data indicate that serum levels of miR-142-3p may be elevated specifically in patients with SSc, correlating with the severity of this disease, and may be useful diagnostic markers for the presence of SSc and for the differentiation of SSc from SSD.