Circulating miRNAs and Risk of Sudden Death in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease

JACC Clin Electrophysiol. 2020 Jan;6(1):70-79. doi: 10.1016/j.jacep.2019.08.011. Epub 2019 Oct 30.


Objectives: This study evaluated whether plasma miRNAs were specifically associated with sudden cardiac and/or arrhythmic death (SCD) in a cohort of patients with coronary heart disease (CHD), most of whom were without primary prevention implantable cardioverter-defibrillators.

Background: Novel biomarkers for sudden death risk stratification are needed in patients with CHD to more precisely target preventive therapies, such as implantable cardioverter-defibrillators. miRNAs have been implicated in regulating inflammation and cardiac fibrosis in cells, and plasma miRNAs have been shown to predict cardiovascular death in patients with CHD.

Methods: We performed a nested case control study within a multicenter cohort of 5,956 patients with CHD followed prospectively for SCD. Plasma levels of 18 candidate miRNAs previously associated with cardiac remodeling were measured in 129 SCD cases and 258 control subjects matched on age, sex, race, and left ventricular ejection fraction.

Results: miR-150-5p, miR-29a-3p, and miR-30a-5p were associated with increased SCD risk (odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals: 2.03 [1.12 to 3.67]; p = 0.02; 1.93 [1.07 to 3.50]; p = 0.02; 0.55 [0.31 to 0.97]; p = 0.04, respectively, for third vs. first tertile miRNA level). Unfavorable levels of all 3 miRNAs was associated with a 4.8-fold increased SCD risk (1.59 to 14.51; p = 0.006). A bioinformatics-based approach predicted miR-150-5p, miR-29a-3p, and miR-30a-5p to be involved in apoptosis, fibrosis, and inflammation.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that plasma miRNAs may regulate pathways important for remodeling and may be useful in identifying patients with CHD at increased risk of SCD.

Keywords: coronary heart disease; microRNAs; risk prediction; sudden death.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Coronary Disease* / genetics
  • Coronary Disease* / metabolism
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs* / blood
  • MicroRNAs* / genetics
  • MicroRNAs* / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Assessment


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • MicroRNAs