Acta Diabetologica

, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 55–65 | Cite as

Circulating miRNAs in diabetic kidney disease: case–control study and in silico analyses

  • Taís S. Assmann
  • Mariana Recamonde-Mendoza
  • Aline R. Costa
  • Márcia Puñales
  • Balduíno Tschiedel
  • Luís H. Canani
  • Andrea C. Bauer
  • Daisy CrispimEmail author
Original Article



The aim of this study was to investigate a miRNA expression profile in type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) patients with DKD (cases) or without this complication (controls).


Expression of 48 miRNAs was screened in plasma of 58 T1DM patients (23 controls, 18 with moderate DKD, and 17 with severe DKD) using TaqMan Low Density Array cards (Thermo Fisher Scientific). Then, five of the dysregulated miRNAs were selected for validation in an independent sample of 10 T1DM controls and 19 patients with DKD (10 with moderate DKD and 9 with severe DKD), using RT-qPCR. Bioinformatic analyses were performed to explore the putative target genes and biological pathways regulated by the validated miRNAs.


Among the 48 miRNAs investigated in the screening analysis, 9 miRNAs were differentially expressed between DKD cases and T1DM controls. Among them, the five most dysregulated miRNAs were chosen for validation in an independent sample. In the validation sample, miR-21-3p and miR-378-3p were confirmed to be upregulated in patients with severe DKD, while miR-16-5p and miR-29a-3p were downregulated in this group compared to T1DM controls and patients with moderate DKD. MiR-503-3p expression was not validated. Bioinformatic analyses indicate that the four validated miRNAs regulate genes from PI3K/Akt, fluid shear stress and atherosclerosis, AGE-RAGE, TGF-β1, and relaxin signaling pathways.


Our study found four miRNAs differentially expressed in patients with severe DKD, providing significant information about the biological pathways in which they are involved.


MicroRNAs Diabetic kidney disease Bioinformatics Target prediction 


Author contributions

TSA designed the study, acquired and analyzed the data, and drafted the manuscript. MRM performed the bioinformatics analysis and reviewed the manuscript. ACB, MP, BT, and LHC interpreted the data and reviewed the manuscript. DC supervised the study, analyzed the data, and drafted the manuscript. All authors approved the final version.


This study was supported by Grants from the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (Grant number: 482525/2013-4), Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio Grande do Sul (Edital FAPERGS/CNPq PRONEX 12/2014: 16-2551-0000476-5), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, and Fundo de Incentivo à Pesquisa e Eventos at Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre (Grant number: 14–0213). D. Crispim, L. H. Canani and T. S. Assmann are recipients of scholarships from CNPq.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre research committee (number of approval 14–0213) and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 36 KB)
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Supplementary material 3 (PDF 132 KB)
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Supplementary material 6 (XLSX 44 KB)
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Supplementary material 7 (XLSX 30 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Taís S. Assmann
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mariana Recamonde-Mendoza
    • 3
    • 4
  • Aline R. Costa
    • 1
  • Márcia Puñales
    • 5
  • Balduíno Tschiedel
    • 5
  • Luís H. Canani
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andrea C. Bauer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daisy Crispim
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Endocrine DivisionHospital de Clínicas de Porto AlegrePorto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.Postgraduation Program in Endocrinology, Faculdade de MedicinaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  3. 3.Institute of InformaticsUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  4. 4.Experimental Research CenterHospital de Clínicas de Porto AlegrePorto AlegreBrazil
  5. 5.Instituto da Criança com DiabetesHospital Nossa Senhora da ConceiçãoPorto AlegreBrazil

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