Circulating miRNAs in girls with abdominal obesity: miR-221-3p as a biomarker of response to weight loss interventions
Ana Ojeda-Rodríguez 1 2 , Taís Silveira Assmann 1 3 , Lucia Alonso-Pedrero 1 2 , Maria Cristina Azcona-Sanjulian 2 4 , Fermín I Milagro 1 2 5 6 , Amelia Marti 1 2 6
Background: Recent studies have associated several microRNAs (miRNAs) with childhood obesity and energy homeostasis, suggesting that an individual miRNA profile could be used as an early predictor to estimate the response to weight loss interventions in the design of precision nutrition.
Objective: To investigate associations between the expression of circulating adiposity-related miRNAs and the response to a weight loss intervention.
Methods: A total of 51 Spanish girls (age 7-16 years) with abdominal obesity underwent 8 weeks of a multidisciplinary intervention for weight loss. Participants were stratified into two groups in accordance with changes in body mass index (BMI) standard deviation score: low-responders (LR) and high-responders (HR). The expression of 39 circulating miRNAs (c-miRNAs) was evaluated in plasma of all subjects before the intervention.
Results: Six miRNAs were differentially expressed between LR and HR. However, after adjustment for Tanner stage, the association was maintained only for miR-126-3p and miR-221-3p with a higher expression in HR group compared to LR group. After the intervention, miR-221-3p expression decreased in all subjects with a significant difference in the change within groups.
However, changes in miR-126-3p levels were not significant. The expression of miR-221-3p was positively correlated with body weight, BMI and waist circumference, and negatively correlated with quantitative insulin sensitivity check index.
Conclusions: Bioinformatic analysis evidenced that miR-221-3p participates in several obesity-related pathways, and more interestingly, this miRNA targets several candidate genes to childhood obesity according to DisGeNet database. Thus, miR-221-3p could be used for predicting the response to a multidisciplinary intervention for weight loss in young girls.