Association of Circulating microRNAs with Coronary Artery Disease and Usefulness for Reclassification of Healthy Individuals: The REGICOR Study

J Clin Med. 2020 May 9;9(5):1402. doi: 10.3390/jcm9051402.


Risk prediction tools cannot identify most individuals at high coronary artery disease (CAD) risk. Oxidized low-density lipoproteins (oxLDLs) and microRNAs are actively involved in atherosclerosis. Our aim was to examine the association of CAD and oxLDLs-induced microRNAs, and to assess the microRNAs predictive capacity of future CAD events. Human endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells were treated with oxidized/native low-density lipoproteins, and microRNA expression was analyzed. Differentially expressed and CAD-related miRNAs were examined in serum samples from (1) a case-control study with 476 myocardial infarction (MI) patients and 487 controls, and (2) a case-cohort study with 105 incident CAD cases and 455 randomly-selected cohort participants. MicroRNA expression was analyzed with custom OpenArray plates, log rank tests and Cox regression models. Twenty-one microRNAs, two previously undescribed (hsa-miR-193b-5p and hsa-miR-1229-5p), were up- or down-regulated upon cell treatment with oxLDLs. One of the 21, hsa-miR-122-5p, was also upregulated in MI cases (fold change = 4.85). Of the 28 CAD-related microRNAs tested, 11 were upregulated in MI cases -1 previously undescribed (hsa-miR-16-5p)-, and 1/11 was also associated with CAD incidence (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.55 (0.35-0.88)) and improved CAD risk reclassification, hsa-miR-143-3p. We identified 2 novel microRNAs modulated by oxLDLs in endothelial cells, 1 novel microRNA upregulated in AMI cases compared to controls, and one circulating microRNA that improved CAD risk classification.

Keywords: circulating biomarkers; coronary artery disease; microRNAs; myocardial infarction; oxidized low-density lipoproteins.