MiR-21, miR-210, miR-34a, and miR-146a/b are up-regulated in human atherosclerotic plaques in the Tampere Vascular Study

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<p>Objective: MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that inversely regulate their target gene expression. The whole miRNA profile of human atherosclerotic plaques has not been studied previously. The aim of this study was to investigate the miRNA expression profile in human atherosclerotic plaques as compared to non-atherosclerotic left internal thoracic arteries (LITA), and to connect this expression to the processes in atherosclerosis. Methods: The miRNA expression profiles of six LITAs and 12 atherosclerotic plaques obtained from aortic, carotid, and femoral atherosclerotic arteries from Tampere Vascular Study were analyzed. The analyses were performed with Agilent's miRNA Microarray. The expression levels of over 4-fold up-regulated miRNAs were verified with qRT-PCR from a larger population (n= 50). Messenger RNA levels were analyzed with Illumina's Expression BeadChip to study miRNA target expression. Results: Ten miRNAs were found to be differently expressed in atherosclerotic plaques when compared to controls (p<0.05). The expression of miR-21, -34a, -146a, -146b-5p, and -210 was verified and found to be significantly up-regulated in atherosclerotic arteries versus LITAs (p<0.001, fold changes 4.61, 2.55, 2.87, 2.82, and 3.92, respectively). Several predicted targets of these miRNAs were down-regulated, and gene set enrichment analysis showed several pathways which could be differently expressed due to this miRNA profile. Conclusions: The microRNA expression profile differs significantly between atherosclerotic plaques and control arteries. The most up-regulated miRNAs are involved in processes known to be connected to atherosclerosis. Interfering with the miRNA expression in the artery wall is a potential way to affect atherosclerotic plaque and cardiovascular disease development.</p>
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-217
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Expression
  • MiRNA
  • Plaque
  • Target

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