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Oncotarget. 2018 Jul 17;9(55):30485-30498. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.25271. eCollection 2018 Jul 17.

MicroRNA profiling and their pathways in South African individuals with prediabetes and newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Wellness Science, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa.
Non-Communicable Diseases Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa.
Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa.
Department of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) and University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa.


Early identification of individuals with elevated risk of developing diabetes mellitus, followed by the implementation of effective prevention interventions can delay the onset of the disease and related complications. In this regard, recent studies have shown that miRNAs are useful as early markers of certain disease types, including diabetes. We used high throughput sequencing to assess miRNA expression profiles from whole blood of 12 individuals with screen-detected diabetes, 12 with prediabetes and 12 with normal glucose tolerance, matched for age, blood pressure, smoking and body mass index. We identified a total of 261 (57 novel) differentially expressed miRNA profiles between the study groups. Comparison of the miRNA expression profiles between prediabetess and diabetes revealed 25 common miRNA, but highlighted some interesting differences. For instance, three miRNAs (miR-126-3p, miR-28-3p miR-486-5p) were dysregulated in prediabetes compared to screen-detected diabetes. Target gene analysis showed thousands of potential genes and KEGG pathway analysis revealed 107 significant pathways of which some are involved signal transduction, cell-cell communications, cell growth and death, immune response, endocrine system and metabolic diseases. This first detailed African study has shown both known and novel differentially expressed miRNAs in relation to glucose tolerance.


Africa; diabetes; miRNA; prediabetes; sequencing

Conflict of interest statement

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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