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J Dent Res. 2012 Jan;91(1):33-8. doi: 10.1177/0022034511425045. Epub 2011 Oct 31.

MicroRNA modulation in obesity and periodontitis.

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Department of Periodontology and School of Dentistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA.


The aim of this pilot investigation was to determine if microRNA expression differed in the presence or absence of obesity, comparing gingival biopsies obtained from patients with or without periodontal disease. Total RNA was extracted from gingival biopsy samples collected from 20 patients: 10 non-obese patients (BMI < 30 kg/m(2)) and 10 obese patients (BMI > 30 kg/m(2)), each group with 5 periodontally healthy sites and 5 chronic periodontitis sites. MicroRNA expression patterns were assessed with a quantitative microRNA PCR array to survey 88 candidate microRNA species. Four microRNA databases were used to identify potential relevant mRNA target genes of differentially expressed microRNAs. Two microRNA species (miR-18a, miR-30e) were up-regulated among obese individuals with a healthy periodontium. Two microRNA species (miR-30e, miR-106b) were up-regulated in non-obese individuals with periodontal disease. In the presence of periodontal disease and obesity, 9 of 11 listed microRNAs were significantly up-regulated (miR-15a, miR-18a, miR-22, miR-30d, miR-30e, miR-103, miR-106b, miR-130a, miR-142-3p, miR-185, and miR-210). Predicted targets include 69 different mRNAs from genes that comprise cytokines, chemokines, specific collagens, and regulators of glucose and lipid metabolism. The expression of specific microRNA species in obesity, which could also target and post-transcriptionally modulate cytokine mRNA, provides new insight into possible mechanisms of how risk factors might modify periodontal inflammation and may represent novel therapeutic targets.

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