MicroRNAs in ascending thoracic aortic aneurysms

Biosci Rep. 2020 Jul 31;40(7):BSR20200218. doi: 10.1042/BSR20200218.


Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm (TAA) is characterized by the dilation of the aorta and is fatal if not diagnosed and treated appropriately. The underlying genetic mechanisms have not been completely delineated, so better knowledge of the physiopathology of TAAs is needed to improve detection and therapy. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally and are known to be involved in cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). The current study aimed to identify miRNAs that can be used as possible biomarkers for the early diagnosis of patients with ascending TAAs (ATAAs). MiRNA expression was profiled by NanoString nCounter technology using 12 samples including tissue and pre- and post-surgical plasma from ATAA patients. Four miRNAs were selected and further validated by real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in 22 plasma samples from which three miRNAs (hsa-miR140-5p, hsa-miR-191-5p and hsa-miR-214-3p) showed significant expression level differences between the two types of plasma samples. Further analyses of the corresponding predicted target genes by these miRNAs, revealed two genes (Myotubularin-related protein 4 (MTMR4) and Phosphatase 1 catalytic subunit β (PPP1CB)) whose expression was inversely correlated with the expression of their respective miRNAs. Overall, in this pilot study, we identified three miRNAs that might serve as potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets in ATAA.

Keywords: biomarkers; microRNAs; plasma samples; thoracic aneurysms.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aorta, Thoracic / surgery
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic / blood
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic / diagnosis
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic / genetics*
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic / surgery
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / blood
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Postoperative Period
  • Preoperative Period
  • Protein Phosphatase 1 / genetics
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases, Non-Receptor / genetics


  • Biomarkers
  • MIRN191 microRNA, human
  • MIRN214 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Mirn140 microRNA, human
  • PPP1CB protein, human
  • Protein Phosphatase 1
  • MTMR4 protein, human
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases, Non-Receptor