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Circulating micrornas associated with glycemic impairment and progression in Asian Indians



Asian Indians have a high incidence of type 2 diabetes, but factors associated with glycemic progression in this population are not understood. MicroRNAs are emerging as important mediators of glucose homeostasis and have not been previously studied in Asian Indians. We examined microRNA (miR) expression associated with glycemic impairment and progression in Asian Indians from the San Francisco Bay Area. We studied 128 Asian Indians age 45-84 years without known cardiovascular disease and not taking diabetes medications. Oral glucose tolerance tests were performed at baseline and after 2.5 years. We quantified circulating miRs from plasma collected during the enrollment visit using a flow cytometry-based assay.


Glycemic impairment was present in 57 % (n = 73) at baseline. MiR-191 was positively associated with glycemic impairment (odds ratio (OR) 1.7 (95 % CI 1.2, 2.4), p < 0.01). The prevalence of glycemic progression after 2.5 years was 24 % (n = 23). Six miRs were negatively associated with glycemic progression: miR-122 (OR 0.5 (0.2, 0.8), p < 0.01), miR-15a (OR 0.6 (0.4, 0.9), p < 0.01), miR-197 (OR 0.6 (0.4, 0.9), p < 0.01), miR-320a (OR 0.6 (0.4, 0.9), p < 0.01), miR-423 (OR 0.6 (0.4, 0.9), p < 0.01), and miR-486 (OR 0.5 (0.3, 0.8), p < 0.01). Further multivariate adjustment did not attenuate these results.


This is the first study to investigate circulating miRs associated with glycemic status among this high-risk ethnic group. Individual miRs were significantly associated with both glycemic impairment and glycemic progression. Further studies are needed to determine whether miR (s) might be useful clinical biomarkers for incident T2D in the Asian Indian population.

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