The current paradigm that microRNAs represent a new layer of gene regulation has generated much interest in this field. MicroRNAs have emerged as important regulatory factors involved in the developmental processes and in the regulation of insulin secretion and signalling. Furthermore, recent studies revealed an altered microRNA profiling in lymphocytes of patients with autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, in which a hyperexpression of miR-326 was reported. Here, we analysed the expression levels of miR-326 in peripheral blood lymphocytes from type 1 diabetic (T1D) patients in relationship with ongoing islet autoimmunity.
Peripheral blood lymphocytes were obtained from 19 T1D patients; 4/19 patients were positive for both glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) and islet cell antigen 512 autoantibodies; 10/19 were single GAD or IA-2 Ab positive and 5/19 were GAD antibodies and IA-2 antibodies (IA-2A) negative. Quantitative analysis of miR-326 was performed using specific stem–loop primers followed by real-time polymerase chain reaction. All values were normalized to endogenous control U6.
miR-326 resulted increased in Ab-positive versus Ab-negative T1D subjects. Its expression levels were 2.05 ± 0.38-fold increased in peripheral blood lymphocytes from patients expressing both GADA and IA-2A and 2.93 ± 0.46-fold increased in single Ab-positive versus Ab-negative individuals (p < 0.05).
In conclusion, we have shown that miR-326 is expressed at higher levels in T1D subjects with ongoing islet autoimmunity, similar to what has been observed in multiple sclerosis, in which levels of this microRNA were highly correlated with disease severity. Interestingly, an online search of miR-326 predicted targets revealed vitamin D receptor and Erythroblastosis virus E26 oncogene homologue 1, two molecules highly involved in immune regulation. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.