Cardiac miRNA Expression and their mRNA Targets in a Rat Model of Prediabetes

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Mar 20;21(6):2128. doi: 10.3390/ijms21062128.


Little is known about the mechanism of prediabetes-induced cardiac dysfunction. Therefore, we aimed to explore key molecular changes with transcriptomic and bioinformatics approaches in a prediabetes model showing heart failure with preserved ejection fraction phenotype. To induce prediabetes, Long-Evans rats were fed a high-fat diet for 21 weeks and treated with a single low-dose streptozotocin at week 4. Small RNA-sequencing, in silico microRNA (miRNA)-mRNA target prediction, Gene Ontology analysis, and target validation with qRT-PCR were performed in left ventricle samples. From the miRBase-annotated 752 mature miRNA sequences expression of 356 miRNAs was detectable. We identified two upregulated and three downregulated miRNAs in the prediabetic group. We predicted 445 mRNA targets of the five differentially expressed miRNAs and selected 11 mRNAs targeted by three differentially expressed miRNAs, out of which five mRNAs were selected for validation. Out of these five targets, downregulation of three mRNAs i.e., Juxtaposed with another zinc finger protein 1 (Jazf1); RAP2C, member of RAS oncogene family (Rap2c); and Zinc finger with KRAB and SCAN domains 1 (Zkscan1) were validated. This is the first demonstration that prediabetes alters cardiac miRNA expression profile. Predicted targets of differentially expressed miRNAs include Jazf1, Zkscan1, and Rap2c mRNAs. These transcriptomic changes may contribute to the diastolic dysfunction and may serve as drug targets.

Keywords: comorbidities; diastolic dysfunction; heart; microRNA; network analysis; prediabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computational Biology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Down-Regulation / genetics
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Gene Ontology
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Prediabetic State / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Up-Regulation / genetics


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger