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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2018 Sep 4. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000001851. [Epub ahead of print]

Unique Circulating MicroRNA profiles in HIV Infection.

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Division of Cardiology and the Center of Excellence in Vascular Research, San Francisco General Hospital, University of California, San Francisco, CA.
Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco, CA.
Division of Cardiology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA.
Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA.



MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression. We aimed to determine the association between extracellular miRNAs and HIV infection.


Single-center, cross-sectional study METHODS:: We analyzed the expression of 192 plasma-derived miRNAs in 69 HIV-infected individuals and 24 uninfected controls using TaqMan miRNA Assays and a high throughput Real-Time PCR instrument (Fluidigm). False discovery rate (FDR) was applied.


HIV-infected individuals and controls were similar in age, gender, and traditional risk factors. Among those with HIV, 72.5% were on antiretroviral therapy (ARVs) and 64% had an undetectable viral load. Twenty-nine miRNAs were differentially expressed in the plasma of HIV-infected individuals compared to controls (p<0.05, FDR <0.15). Nineteen miRNAs were differentially expressed among HIV+ subjects on ARVs, HIV+ subjects not on ARVs, and HIV- subjects (p<0.05 and FDR<0.15). Thirty-four miRNAs were differentially expressed between HIV- subjects and elite controllers (i.e. suppressed viral loads despite absence of ARVs; p<0.05 and FDR<0.15). These 34 miRNAs included miRs-29c, 146b, 223, and 382, which were previously reported to have intracellular roles in HIV latency, as well as miRs-126, 145, and let-7, which were previously shown to be differentially expressed in coronary artery disease (CAD) among uninfected individuals.


We demonstrate a unique expression profile of 29 miRNAs in HIV+ subjects and 34 miRNAs in elite controllers as compared to HIV- subjects. These miRNA signatures may be useful in further elucidating mechanisms of viral and immunological control and may have diagnostic or prognostic value in HIV-associated CAD.

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