Circulating isomiRs May Be Superior Biomarkers Compared to Their Corresponding miRNAs: A Pilot Biomarker Study of Using isomiR-Ome to Detect Coronary Calcium-Based Cardiovascular Risk in Patients with NAFLD

Nataly Makarenkov, Uri Yoel, Yulia Haim, Yair Pincu, Nikhil S. Bhandarkar, Aryeh Shalev, Ilan Shelef, Idit F. Liberty, Gal Ben-Arie, David Yardeni, Assaf Rudich, Ohad Etzion, Isana Veksler-Lublinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Circulating miRNAs are increasingly being considered as biomarkers in various medical contexts, but the value of analyzing isomiRs (isoforms of canonical miRNA sequences) has not frequently been assessed. Here we hypothesize that an in-depth analysis of the full circulating miRNA landscape could identify specific isomiRs that are stronger biomarkers, compared to their corresponding miRNA, for identifying increased CV risk in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)—a clinical unmet need. Plasma miRNAs were sequenced with next-generation sequencing (NGS). Liver fat content was measured with magnetic-resonance spectrometry (MRS); CV risk was determined, beyond using traditional biomarkers, by a CT-based measurement of coronary artery calcium (CAC) score and the calculation of a CAC score-based CV-risk percentile (CAC-CV%). This pilot study included n = 13 patients, age > 45 years, with an MRS-measured liver fat content of ≥5% (wt/wt), and free of overt CVD. NGS identified 1103 miRNAs and 404,022 different isomiRs, of which 280 (25%) and 1418 (0.35%), respectively, passed an abundance threshold. Eighteen (sixteen/two) circulating miRNAs correlated positively/negatively, respectively, with CAC-CV%, nine of which also significantly discriminated between high/low CV risk through ROC-AUC analysis. IsomiR-ome analyses uncovered 67 isomiRs highly correlated (R ≥ 0.55) with CAC-CV%. Specific isomiRs of miRNAs 101-3p, 144-3p, 421, and 484 exhibited stronger associations with CAC-CV% compared to their corresponding miRNA. Additionally, while miRNAs 140-3p, 223-3p, 30e-5p, and 342-3p did not correlate with CAC-CV%, specific isomiRs with altered seed sequences exhibited a strong correlation with coronary atherosclerosis burden. Their predicted isomiRs-specific targets were uniquely enriched (compared to their canonical miRNA sequence) in CV Disease (CVD)-related pathways. Two of the isomiRs exhibited discriminative ROC-AUC, and another two showed a correlation with reverse cholesterol transport from cholesterol-loaded macrophages to ApoB-depleted plasma. In summary, we propose a pipeline for exploring circulating isomiR-ome as an approach to uncover novel and strong CVD biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number890
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 10 Jan 2024

Keywords

  • NAFLD
  • biomarker
  • cardiovascular risk
  • coronary artery calcium (CAC) score
  • isomiR (iso-microRNA)
  • microRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Catalysis
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry

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