Preliminary evidence supports circulating microRNAs as prognostic biomarkers for type 2 diabetes

E. Flowers, A. M. Kanaya, Y. Fukuoka, I. E. Allen, B. Cooper, B. E. Aouizerat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Circulating microRNAs are emerging as potential prognostic biomarkers for the development of type 2 diabetes. However, microRNAs are also associated with complications from impaired glucose metabolism (e.g. endothelial cell function). Prior studies have not evaluated for associations between trajectories of circulating microRNAs with trajectories of fasting blood glucose over time and the responses to behavioral interventions to reduce risk. This study performed longitudinal assessment of microRNAs and fasting blood glucose and identified relationships between microRNAs and behavioral risk reduction interventions. Methods: MicroRNAs (n = 353) were measured in subsets (n = 10, n = 8) of participants from previously completed clinical trials that studied behavioral risk reduction interventions. Fasting blood glucose trajectories were associated with changes in 45 microRNAs over 12 months. Results: Following a 3-month physical activity and dietary intervention compared with baseline, 13 microRNAs were differentially expressed. Seven microRNAs (i.e. miR-106b, miR-20b, miR-363, miR-486, miR-532, miR-92a and miR-93) were commonly identified between the two analyses. Conclusions: Further studies are needed to determine which microRNAs are prognostic biomarkers of risk for type 2 diabetes versus consequences of impaired glucose metabolism. Additional future directions of this research are to differentiate whether microRNAs are prognostic and/or diagnostic biomarkers for risk for type 2 diabetes and predictive biomarkers of responses to risk reduction interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)446-452
Number of pages7
JournalObesity Science and Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • biomarker
  • diabetes
  • fasting blood glucose
  • microRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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