Co‑expressed microRNAs, target genes and pathways related to metabolism, inflammation and endocrine function in individuals at risk for type 2 diabetes.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.3892/mmr.2022.12672
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) may be considered important regulators of risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D). The aim of the present study was to identify novel sets of miRNAs associated with T2D risk, as well as their gene and pathway targets. Circulating miRNAs (n=59) were measured in plasma from participants in a previously completed clinical trial (n=82). An agnostic statistical approach was applied to identify novel sets of miRNAs with optimal co‑expression patterns. In silico analyses were used to identify the messenger RNA and biological pathway targets of the miRNAs within each factor. A total of three factors of miRNAs were identified, containing 18, seven and two miRNAs each. Eight biological pathways were revealed to contain genes targeted by the miRNAs in all three factors, 38 pathways contained genes targeted by the miRNAs in two factors, and 55, 18 and two pathways were targeted by the miRNAs in a single factor, respectively (all q<0.05). The pathways containing genes targeted by miRNAs in the largest factor shared a common theme of biological processes related to metabolism and inflammation. By contrast, the pathways containing genes targeted by miRNAs in the second largest factor were related to endocrine function and hormone activity. The present study focused on the pathways uniquely targeted by each factor of miRNAs in order to identify unique mechanisms that may be associated with a subset of individuals. Further exploration of the genes and pathways related to these biological themes may provide insights about the subtypes of T2D and lead to the identification of novel therapeutic targets.