Spring is in the air: seasonal profiles indicate vernal change of miRNA activity

TitelSpring is in the air: seasonal profiles indicate vernal change of miRNA activity
MedientypJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AutorenLudwig N, Hecksteden A, Kahramann M, Fehlmann T, Laufer T, Kern F, Meyer T, Meese E, Keller A, Backes C
JournalRNA Biol
Date Published08/2019

The envisioned application of miRNAs as diagnostic or prognostic biomarkers calls for an in-depth understanding of their distribution and variability in different physiological states. While effects with respect to ethnic origin, age, or gender are known, the inter-individual variability of miRNAs across the four seasons remained largely hidden. We sequentially profiled the complete repertoire of blood-borne miRNAs for 25 physiologically normal individuals in spring, summer, fall, and winter (altogether 95 samples) and validated the results on 292 individuals (919 samples collected with the Mitra home sampling device) by RT-qPCR. Principal variance component analysis suggests that the largest variability observed in miRNA expression is due to individual variability and the individuals' gender. But the results also highlight a deviation of miRNA activity in samples collected during spring time. Following adjustment for multiple testing, remarkable differences are observed between spring and fall (77 miRNAs). The two most dys-regulated miRNAs were miR-181c-5p and miR-106b-5p (adjusted p-value of 0.007). Other significant miRNAs include miR-140-3p, miR-21-3p, and let-7c-5p. The dys-regulation was validated by RT-qPCR. Systems biology analysis further provides strong evidence for the immunological origin of the signals: dys-regulated miRNAs are enriched in CD56 cells and belong to various signalling and immune-system-related pathways. Our data suggest that besides known confounding factors such as age and sex, also the season in which a test is conducted might have a considerable influence on the expression of blood-borne miRNAs and subsequently might interfere with diagnosis based on such signatures.

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