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MicroRNA-616 and atherosclerosis – A commentary on the paper by Liu et al.

  • Emma Raitoharju
    Correspondence
    Tel.: +358 331174052; fax: +358 331174168.
    Affiliations
    Department of Clinical Chemistry, Pirkanmaa Hospital District, Fimlab Laboratories and University of Tampere, School of Medicine, Biokatu 8, 33520 Tampere, Finland
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      MicroRNAs (miRNA, miR) in cardiovascular diseases are a constantly growing field. As individual microRNAs are predicted to regulate the expression of hundreds of genes, and a single gene can be targeted by numerous microRNAs, microRNA profiling can rarely indicate the mechanism through which microRNAs affect the disease. In their paper “A functional polymorphism of PON1 interferes with microRNA binding to increase the risk of ischemic stroke and carotid atherosclerosis”, Liu et al. have shown a decreased binding affinity of miR-616 to the 3′-UTR as well as an increased paraoxonase 1 (PON1) expression in a plasmid construct carrying the T allele of the single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs3735590. The TC genotype was also been associated with a significantly lower risk of ischemic stroke and thinner intima media thickness (IMT) in a Han Chinese population [
      • Liu M.
      • Liao Y.
      • Lin R.
      • et al.
      A functional polymorphism of PON1 interferes 1 with microRNA binding to increase the risk of ischemic stroke and carotid atherosclerosis.
      ]. Similar work has been done previously by Wu et al. concerning an SNP (rs4846049) in the miR-149 binding site in the 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene in relation to the risk of coronary heart disease [
      • Wu C.
      • Gong Y.
      • Sun A.
      • et al.
      The human MTHFR rs4846049 polymorphism increases coronary heart disease risk through modifying miRNA binding.
      ], and by Sethupathy et al. concerning the expression of miR-155, rs5186, and angiotensin II receptor, type 1 (AGTR1) as regards the previously known association between the SNP and hypertension [
      • Sethupathy P.
      • Borel C.
      • Gagnebin M.
      • et al.
      Human microRNA-155 on chromosome 21 differentially interacts with its polymorphic target in the AGTR1 3′ untranslated region: a mechanism for functional single-nucleotide polymorphisms related to phenotypes.
      ]. Another SNP (rs13702) in the miR-410 binding site in the 3′-UTR of lipoprotein lipase (LPL) has been shown to associate with plasma lipid levels [
      • Richardson K.
      • Nettleton J.A.
      • Rotllan N.
      • et al.
      Gain-of-Function lipoprotein lipase variant rs13702 modulates lipid traits through disruption of a microRNA-410 seed site.
      ]. Even though the actual mechanisms and tissue through which PON1 may affect IMT or the risk of stroke are unknown, this kind of work relating miRNA expression (and SNPs as well) to gene expression and a plausible function is important, albeit rare, for current miRNA research. To date, the miRNA work on atherosclerosis has mainly entailed the profiling of microRNAs in different cell and tissue types.

      Keywords

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