Recently, microRNAs (miRNA) have been proposed as regulators in the different processes involved in alcohol intake, and differences have been found in the miRNA expression profile in alcoholics. However, no study has focused on analyzing polymorphisms in genes encoding miRNAs and daily alcohol consumption at the population level. Our aim was to investigate the association between a functional polymorphism in the pre-miR-27a (rs895819 A>G) gene and alcohol consumption in an elderly population. We undertook a cross-sectional study of PREvención con DIeta MEDiterránea (PREDIMED)-Valencia participants (n = 1007, including men and women aged 67 ± 7 years) and measured their alcohol consumption (total and alcoholic beverages) through a validated questionnaire. We found a strong association between the pre-miR-27a polymorphism and total alcohol intake, this being higher in GG subjects (5.2 ± 0.4 in AA, 5.9 ± 0.5 in AG and 9.1 ± 1.8 g/day in GG; padjusted = 0.019). We also found a statistically-significant association of the pre-miR-27a polymorphism with the risk of having a high alcohol intake (>2 drinks/day in men and >1 in women): 5.9% in AA versus 17.5% in GG; padjusted < 0.001. In the sensitivity analysis, this association was homogeneous for sex, obesity and Mediterranean diet adherence. In conclusion, we report for the first time a significant association between a miRNA polymorphism (rs895819) and daily alcohol consumption.
Keywords: Mediterranean; alcohol; miR27a; microRNAs.