Determination of 14 circulating microRNAs in Swedes and Iraqis with and without diabetes mellitus type 2

Xiao Wang, Jan Sundquist, Bengt Zöller, Ashfaque A. Memon, Karolina Palmér, Kristina Sundquist, Louise Bennet

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104 Scopus citations


Background: Recent reports suggest that immigrants from Middle Eastern countries are a high-risk group for type 2 diabetes (T2D) compared with Swedes, and that the pathogenesis of T2D may be ethnicity-specific. Deregulation of microRNA (miRNA) expression has been demonstrated to be associated with T2D but ethnic differences in miRNA have not been investigated. The aim of this study was to explore the ethnic specific expression (Swedish and Iraqi) of a panel of 14 previously identified miRNAs in patients without T2D (including those with prediabetes) and T2D. Methods: A total of 152 individuals were included in the study (84 Iraqis and 68 Swedes). Nineteen Iraqis and 14 Swedes were diagnosed with T2D. Expression of the 14 selected miRNAs (miR-15a, miR-20, miR-21, miR-24, miR-29b, miR-126, miR-144, miR-150, miR-197, miR-223, miR-191, miR-320a, miR-486-5p, and miR-28-3p) in plasma samples was measured by real-time PCR. Results: In the whole study population, the expression of miR-24 and miR-29b was significantly different between T2D patients and controls after adjustment for age, sex, waist circumference, family history of T2D, and a sedentary lifestyle. Interestingly, when stratifying the study population according to country of birth, we found that higher expression of miR-144 was significantly associated with T2D in Swedes (OR = 2.43, p = 0.035), but not in Iraqis (OR = 0.54, p = 0.169). The interaction test was significant (p = 0.017). Conclusion: This study suggests that the association between plasma miR-144 expression and T2D differs between Swedes and Iraqis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere86792
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
StatePublished - 30 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


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