Investigating microRNAs as serum markers of elevated blood pressure.

Seodhna Lynch, Mary Ward, Helene McNulty, Geraldine Horigan, JJ Strain, John Purvis, Mike Tackett, Declan McKenna

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Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause globally of morbidity and mortality. microRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNAs which have a fundamental role in the pathology of various diseases including CVD. Circulating serum levels of miRNAs have been proposed as potentially valuable markers of heart failure, stroke, myocardial infarction and arterial hypertension, but the specific miRNAs involved and their function remains unclear. Therefore, this pilot study aims to profile miRNA expression in premature CVD patients to identify which miRNAs correlate best with hypertension.Methods: The Multiplex Circulating miRNA Assay with FireflyTM Particle Technologies was used to profile 68 miRNAs on a cardiology focus panel in serum samples from 170 premature CVD patients recruited from Altnagelvin Area Hospital and screened for the C677T polymorphism in methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, a risk factor for hypertension. Samples were collected at baseline and following intervention with riboflavin, a co-factor for MTHFR, which significantly lowers blood pressure specifically in adults with this polymorphism. Statistical analysis was used to correlate miRNA expression with blood pressure, MTHFR genotype and other relevant clinical data.Results: The assay successfully measured miRNA expression in the sample set. miRNAs which expressed differentially between MTHFR genotype groups were highlighted and the functional significance of these miRNAs was assessed using bioinformatics to identify target genes involved in CVD.Conclusions: The data provides further evidence that using specific miRNAs as serum markers could aid early prediction of CVD and may lead to better diagnostic modalities and therapeutic regimes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-8
JournalUlster Medical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jan 2017


  • microRNAs
  • hypertension
  • Serum biomarker
  • Riboflavin
  • cardiovascular disease


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