DALLAS A new study published in Circulation Research, a journal of the American Heart Association, found that blood levels of some ribonucleic acids — known as microRNAs — vary among those with Type 2 diabetes or those who develop the disease, compared with healthy people.
MicroRNA comprises shorter molecular chains than so-called messenger RNA, which takes the genetic information contained within the DNA and allows it to be turned into proteins with various functions, and previously has been linked to numerous diseases, including diabetes.
Investigators analyzed microRNAs in blood samples of the Bruneck study — a large population-based survey of heart and other major diseases — and found that after analyzing initial blood-sample screens in 1995, 13 microRNAs found in diabetics had distinct differences than healthy controls' blood samples. The scientists further analyzed these 13 microRNAs to identify the ones that showed the most variation between diabetics and healthy controls. Study participants underwent follow-up screening in 2000 and 2005. Of note, changes in five microRNAs occurred before the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
"We think that some of these microRNA changes may precede the onset of diabetes," said Manuel Mayr, corresponding author of the study. "Future studies will need to confirm whether these new markers can help to actually target therapies and assess patients."
The full study results can be accessed here.