Temporal dynamics of serum let-7g expression mirror the decline of residual beta-cell function in longitudinal observation of children with type 1 diabetes

Pediatr Diabetes. 2018 Dec;19(8):1407-1415. doi: 10.1111/pedi.12783. Epub 2018 Oct 12.


Background/objective: In type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), the introduction of insulin is typically followed by a brief remission period, with subsequent gradual decline in beta-cell function. Several studies described altered profile of circulating miRNAs (microRNAs) in T1DM patients and proposed them as biomarkers of associated pathologic processes.

Hypothesis: Serum miRNA expression profile reflects residual beta-cell function and autoimmunity in T1DM.

Subjects: The profiling group included patients with: GCK-MODY (N = 13), T1DM (N = 9), and 10 healthy controls. The longitudinal group included 34 patients with samples collected at diagnosis of T1DM and first, third, and fourth to eighth year since diagnosis.

Methods: We reanalyzed data from the profiling group for miRNAs differentially expressed between patients with T1DM, other types of diabetes and controls. Afterward, we shortlisted miRNAs on the basis of this reanalysis and literature review and quantified their expression with quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Additionally, we measured the levels of anti-islet antibodies (islet cell antibodies, glutamic acid decarboxylase antibodies, IA2 antibodies, and ZnT8A) and C-peptide concentrations across the four timepoints in the longitudinal group.

Results: miR-24 and let-7g serum expression differed significantly between GCK-MODY, controls, and HbA1c-matched T1DM patients; P < 0.05, false discovery rate < 0.05. Autoantibodies levels showed decreasing linear trend in repeated timepoints (all P < 0.0001). C-peptide concentration peaked during the first year after diagnosis, corresponding to remission phase, and declined in consecutive measurements. This dynamic was evidenced for let-7g expression levels (P = 0.0058).

Conclusions: The pattern of let-7g expression change during the course of diabetes mirrors that of C-peptide levels, hinting at this microRNA's association with the residual mass of the beta cells in patients with T1DM.

Keywords: C-peptide; autoantibodies; circulating microRNA; diabetes mellitus; microRNAs; type 1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Autoimmunity / genetics
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Peptide / blood
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / diagnosis*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / pathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / pathology
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / physiology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / blood*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • Prognosis
  • Time Factors
  • Transcriptome


  • Autoantibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • C-Peptide
  • MicroRNAs
  • islet cell antibody
  • mirnlet7 microRNA, human