Purpose: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs which regulate the activities of target mRNAs. We compared the expression profiles of the miRNAs in the vitreous of eyes with macular hole (MH) to that in eyes with proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR).
Methods: Vitreous and whole blood samples were collected from four patients with MH and from four patients with PDR. We assayed for 168 miRNAs in the vitreous and serum samples by the microRNA PCR Panel method.
Results: The mean number of miRNAs expressed in the vitreous was 63 (55-69) in eyes with MH and 86 (65-117) in eyes with PDR. The mean number of miRNAs expressed in the serum was 162 (159-167) in the MH patients and 142 (115-160) in the PDR patients. Twenty-six miRNAs were expressed in the vitreous of both MH and PDR eyes. Although there was no significant difference in the levels of 20 of the 26 (73 %) miRNAs expressed in both MH and PDR eyes, six of 26 miRNAs (24 %) (hsa-miR-15a, hsa-miR320a, hsa-miR-320b, hsa-miR-93, hsa-miR-29a, and hsa-miR-423-5p) were expressed significantly more highly in PDR eyes. In addition, the mean fold changes of three miRNAs, hsa-miR-23a, hsa-miR-320a, and hsa-miR-320b, in the vitreous to serum were significantly higher in the PDR group than in the MH group.
Conclusions: The expression of several miRNAs related to angiogenesis and fibrosis was expressed significantly higher in the vitreous of eyes with PDR. Further studies are needed to understand the role played by the miRNAs in the biological function of the eye.