Background: In the light of growing global epidemic of T2D and related microvascular complications, it is important to find early detection marker for the disease. Circulating miRNAs serve as a potential biomarker for monitering the progression to DR in diabetic individuals.

Hypothesis and Aims: miRNAs play a substantial role in metabolic homeostasis through regulation of multiple genes, and could serve as a prognostic biomarker in DR. This study aims to assess a functional role of selected miRNAs in the Qatari population recruited for the Qatar Genome Project through Qatar BioBank.

Methods: Plasma samples from 470 T2D subjects with and without DR and 500 matched-healthy controls has been included in this study. Total RNA was extracted and the expression profiling of 56 miRNA that previously reported as a player in the pathogenesis of DR was performed using custom open array panel. The miRNA expression data were normalized using ath-mir159a. Statistical analysis was performed to study the association between the phenotypes (HbA1c, C-peptide, age, BMI) and miRNA.

Results: The patients and controls phenotypic and miRNA expression data were analyzed to interepret the differential expression of the miRNA in DR subjects. Initial analysis by applying the generalized additive model reveals that six miRNA (hsa-miR-27a, hsa-miR-376c, hsa-miR-92a, hsa-miR-1 hsa-miR-223, and mmu-miR-451) were found to be significantly associated with DR (p>0.05). Furthermore, two differentially expressed miRNAs, (hsa-miR-1274A and hsa-miR-24) found to be associated with higher level of C-peptide in DR patients, which suggest the correlation of these miRNAs with the glucose hemostasis and DR.

Conclusion: The etiology of DR is unclear, and present treatments have limited effectiveness. The biomarkers and downstream functional studies are required to deepen the understanding of this chronic diseases and its complications.


A.S. Akil: None. S. Subash Padmajeya: None. L.A. Jerman: None. A. Al-Kurbi: None. A.M. Hussein: None. A. Hardikar: None. M. Joglekar: None. T. Habib: None. M. El Anbari: None. K. Fakhro: None.

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