Background: Circulating microRNAs may reflect or influence pathological cardiac remodeling and contribute to atrial fibrillation (AF).
Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify candidate plasma microRNAs that are associated with echocardiographic phenotypes of atrial remodeling, and incident and prevalent AF in a community-based cohort.
Methods: We analyzed left atrial function index (LAFI) of 1788 Framingham Offspring 8 participants. We quantified expression of 339 plasma microRNAs. We examined associations between microRNA levels with LAFI and prevalent and incident AF. We constructed pathway analysis of microRNAs' predicted gene targets to identify molecular processes involved in adverse atrial remodeling in AF.
Results: The mean age of the participants was 66 ± 9 years, and 54% were women. Five percent of participants had prevalent AF at the initial examination and 9% (n = 157) developed AF over a median 8.6 years of follow-up (IQR 8.1-9.2 years). Plasma microRNAs were associated with LAFI (N = 73, p<0.0001). Six of these plasma microRNAs were significantly associated with incident AF, including 4 also associated with prevalent AF (microRNAs 106b, 26a-5p, 484, 20a-5p). These microRNAs are predicted to regulate genes involved in cardiac hypertrophy, inflammation, and myocardial fibrosis.
Conclusions: Circulating microRNAs 106b, 26a-5p, 484, 20a-5p are associated with atrial remodeling and AF.