Regulatory Roles of MicroRNAs in Diabetes

Int J Mol Sci. 2016 Oct 17;17(10):1729. doi: 10.3390/ijms17101729.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a class of endogenous small noncoding RNAs in eukaryotes, have been recognized as significant regulators of gene expression through post-transcriptional mechanisms. To date, >2000 miRNAs have been identified in the human genome, and they orchestrate a variety of biological and pathological processes. Disruption of miRNA levels correlates with many diseases, including diabetes mellitus, a complex multifactorial metabolic disorder affecting >400 million people worldwide. miRNAs are involved in the pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus by affecting pancreatic β-cell functions, insulin resistance, or both. In this review, we summarize the investigations of the regulatory roles of important miRNAs in diabetes, as well as the potential of circulating miRNAs as diagnostic markers for diabetes mellitus.

Keywords: circulating miRNAs; diabetes; insulin resistance; miRNAs; β-cell function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus / genetics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / pathology*
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Receptor, Insulin / metabolism


  • Antigens, CD
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • IRS1 protein, human
  • IRS2 protein, human
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins
  • MicroRNAs
  • SLC2A4 protein, human
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • INSR protein, human
  • Receptor, Insulin