MicroRNA profiling in sera of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus reveals an upregulation of miR-31 expression in subjects with microvascular complications


Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a metabolic disease characterized by chronic hyperglycaemia due to a combination of resistance to insulin action and an inadequate compensatory insulin secretory response. Chronic hyperglycemia is associated with long-term micro- and macrovascular complications leading to dysfunction of several organs including kidney, heart, eye and nervous system. Early identification of chronic diabetic complications is necessary in order to prevent dysfunction and failure of these different organs. MicroRNAs (or miRNAs) are small endogenous RNAs, which negatively regulate gene expression. Recently, it has been demonstrated that miRNAs can be secreted by cells, thus being detectable in serum and in other biological fluids. Circulating microRNAs have been proposed as possible biomarkers of several diseases. Here, we performed a miRNAs expression profiling in the sera of T2D patients with or without vascular complications in order to find specific biomarkers to characterize T2D complications. We analyzed the expression of 384 microRNAs in serum pools from 3 groups of T2D patients: 12 T2D patients without any chronic complications, 12 T2D patients with macrovascular complications and 12 with microvascular complications. We found 223 miRNAs expressed in T2D,224 inT2D with microvascular and221 inT2D with macrovascular complications. Among expressed microRNAs, 45 resulted upregulated and 23 downregulated in microvascular patients sera, while 13 upregulated and 41 downregulated in macrovascular T2D patients compared to those without complications. We focused and validated microRNA miR-31 expression in single sera from each group, which resulted significantly upregulated in patients with microvascular complications and may be indeed related to the presence of microangiopathy. In conclusion, our study has identified miR-31 as a promising biomarker for diabetic microvascular complications; further prospective studies in the clinical setting are however required to establish the real utility of measuring serum circulating levels of this microRNA.

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Sebastiani, G. , Nigi, L. , Spagnuolo, I. , Morganti, E. , Fondelli, C. and Dotta, F. (2013) MicroRNA profiling in sera of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus reveals an upregulation of miR-31 expression in subjects with microvascular complications. Journal of Biomedical Science and Engineering, 6, 58-64. doi: 10.4236/jbise.2013.65A009.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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