Alteration of circulating platelet-related and diabetes-related microRNAs in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a stepwise hypoglycaemic clamp study

Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2022 May 20;21(1):79. doi: 10.1186/s12933-022-01517-5.


Background: In patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) an association between severe hypoglycaemic episodes and the risk of cardiovascular (CV) morbidity and mortality has been previously established.

Methods: We aimed to investigate the influence of hypoglycaemia on several diabetes-related and platelet-related miRNAs selected based on bioinformatic analysis and literature search, including hsa-miR-16, hsa-miR-34a, hsa-miR-129-2, hsa-miR-15a, hsa-miR-15b, hsa-miR-106a, miR-223, miR-126. Selected miRNAs were validated by qRT-PCR in 14 patients with T2DM on metformin monotherapy, without established CV disease and antiplatelet therapy during a stepwise hypoglycaemic clamp experiment and a follow-up 7 days after the clamp event. In order to identify which pathways and phenotypes are associated with validated miRNAs we performed target prediction on genes expressed with high confidence in platelets.

Results: Circulating levels of miR-106a-5p, miR-15b, miR-15a, miR-16-5p, miR-223 and miR-126 were increased after euglycaemic clamp followed by hypoglycaemic clamp, each with its distinctive time trend. On the contrary, miR-129-2-3p, miR-92a-3p and miR-34a-3p remained unchanged. MiR-16-5p was negatively correlated with interleukin (IL)-6, intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM) and vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM) (p = 0.002, p < 0.001, p = 0.016, respectively), whereas miR-126 was positively correlated with VCAM (p < 0.001). There were negative correlations between miR-16-5p, miR-126 and coagulation factors, including factor VIII and von Willebrand factor (vWF). Among all studied miRNAs, miR-126, miR-129-2-3p and miR-15b showed correlation with platelet function. Bioinformatic analysis of platelet-related targets of analyzed miRNAs showed strong enrichment of IL-2 signaling. We also observed significant enrichment of pathways and diseases related to cancer, CV diseases, hyperglycemia, and neurological diseases.

Conclusions: Hypoglycaemia can significantly influence the expression of platelet-enriched miRNAs, with a time trend paralleling the time course of platelet activation. This suggests miRNAs could be exploited as biomarkers for platelet activation in response to hypoglycaemia, as they are probably released by platelets upon activation by hypoglycaemic episodes. Should they hold their promise in clinical endpoint studies, platelet-derived miRNAs might become helpful markers of CV risk in subjects with diabetes. Trial registration The study was registered at clinical; Impact of Hypoglycaemia in Patients With DIAbetes Mellitus Type 2 on PLATElet Activation (Diaplate), trial number: NCT03460899.

Keywords: Bioinformatic analysis; Biomarker; Diagnosis; Network; Platelet reactivity; Platelets; Prognosis; miRNA; miRNA-gene target interaction.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Platelets
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • MicroRNAs*


  • Biomarkers
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • MicroRNAs
  • Mirn129 microRNA, human

Associated data