Introduction: Circulating microRNAs (miRs) may be predictive biomarkers to identify individuals at risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D). Latinos are at particular high risk for T2D, and the reasons are entirely known.

Methods: We compared expression of circulating miRs between 66 individuals who self-identified with Latino ancestry in the United States (n=21) and native Mexicans living in or near Leon, Mexico (n=45), who had prediabetes (n=36) or normal glycemic status (n=30). Expression of three miRs (i.e., miR-126, miR-146a, miR-15) associated with risk for T2D in other race/ethnic groups was measured using quantitative polymerase chain reaction.

Results: All miRs were strongly correlated (r2>0.7, p<0.05 for all). MiR-146a and miR-15 were increased in U.S. Latinos compared to native Mexicans, (p<0.05 for both). There were no significant differences in expression of any miR associated with prediabetes compared to normal glycemic status. There were no significant interactions between geographic region and miRs in logistic regression models for prediabetes. In a logistic regression model for prediabetes that only included common covariates (i.e., age, sex, body mass index (BMI)), and no miRs, BMI was the only significant predictor (p<0.05), and there was a significant interaction between BMI and geographic region (p<0.05). We tested associations between miRs and common covariates. MiR-146a was correlated with BMI (r2=0.3, p<0.05). When miR-146a was added to a model for prediabetes, the relationship between BMI and prediabetes was no longer significant. There was no significant interaction between miR-146a and geographic region.

Conclusions: Our study failed to validate associations between miRs and prediabetes observed in other racial groups, but we did identify differences in expression levels associated with geographic region. Further studies are needed to determine which miRs are widely associated with risk for T2D across racial groups versus miRs that identify unique risk within a racial subgroup.


E. Flowers: None. M. Lazo-de-la-Vega-Monroy: None. A. Sucher: None. B. Aouizerat: None. A.M. Kanaya: None.


University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States; El Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología

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