Circulating microRNA-122, microRNA-126-3p and microRNA-146a are associated with inflammation in patients with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes mellitus: A case control study

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The prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is increasing dramatically worldwide. Dysregulation of microRNA (miRNA) as key regulators of gene expression, has been reported in numerous diseases including diabetes. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression levels of miRNA-122, miRNA-126-3p and miRNA-146a in diabetic and prediabetic patients and in healthy individuals, and to determine whether the changes in the level of these miRNAs are reliable biomarkers in diagnosis, prognosis, and pathogenesis of T2DM. Additionally, we examined the relationship between miRNA levels and plasma concentrations of inflammatory factors including tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin 6 (Il-6) as well as insulin resistance. In this case-control study, participants (n = 90) were allocated to three groups (n = 30/group): T2DM, pre-diabetes and healthy individuals as control (males and females, age: 25-65, body mass index: 25-35). Expression of miRNA was determined by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Furthermore, plasma concentrations of TNF-α, IL-6 and fasting insulin were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) was calculated as an indicator of insulin resistance. MiRNA-122 levels were higher while miRNA-126-3p and miRNA-146a levels were lower in T2DM and pre-diabetic patients compared to control (p<0.05). Furthermore, a positive correlation was found between miRNA-122 expression and TNF-α (r = 0.82), IL-6 (r = 0.83) and insulin resistance (r = 0.8). Conversely, negative correlations were observed between miRNA-126-3p and miRNA-146a levels and TNF-α (r = -0.7 and r = -0.82 respectively), IL-6 (r = -0.65 and r = -0.78 respectively) as well as insulin resistance (r = -0.67 and r = -0.78 respectively) (all p<0.05). Findings of this study suggest the miRNAs can potentially contribute to the pathogenesis of T2DM. Further studies are required to examine the reproducibility of these findings.

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