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Expression and clinicopathological role of miR146a in thyroid follicular carcinoma

  • Elisa Pignatti
  • Eleonora Vighi
  • Elisa Magnani
  • Elda Kara
  • Luca Roncati
  • Antonino Maiorana
  • Daniele Santi
  • Bruno Madeo
  • Katia Cioni
  • Cesare Carani
  • Vincenzo Rochira
  • Manuela SimoniEmail author
  • Giulia Brigante
Original Article



Dysregulation of microRNA expression has been involved in the development and progression of follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC). The aim of this work was to study the expression of miRNA146a in FTC and the association with clinicopathological features of the disease.


Thirty-eight patients affected by FTC were included in the study. Twenty patients carrying follicular thyroid adenoma (FA) were also enroled as the benign counterpart of FTC. Total RNA including miRNA146a was extracted from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) pairs of affected/unaffected tissue and its expression was assessed by real-time PCR. Two selected target genes, TRAF6 (tumour necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6) and IRAK1 (Il-1 receptor-associated kinase 1/2), were also analysed.


miR146a expression in FTC tissue was overall not downregulated in malignant versus unaffected tissue, but its expression was inversely correlated with clinicopathological features of FTCs at diagnosis. A decreased expression of miR146a became apparent in FTC thyroid tissue of widely compared to minimally invasive tumours. However, miR146a expression differences between contralateral unaffected tissue (extra-FTC) and FTC were not observed regardless of clinicopathological features. IRAK1, a known target for miR146a, was upregulated in FTC and the increase was mainly appreciable in Hurtle FTC variant. Unexpectedly, miR146a did not correlate with TRAF6 showing an inverse trend compared to IRAK1 although both genes regulate the activity of nuclear factor- kB (NF-kB).


The results of this study indicate that downregulation of miR146a, inversely correlated with clinicopathological features of FTCs at diagnosis and suggest a possible involvement of miR146a in FTC development. IRAK1 over-expression in FTC may be related to tumour development/progression. In vitro experiments are needed to support this hypothesis.


Follicular thyroid carcinoma miR146a IRAK1 TRAF6 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. ”Research involving human participants and/or animals: This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

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

Supplementary material

12020_2019_1845_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Supplementary Information


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisa Pignatti
    • 1
    • 2
  • Eleonora Vighi
    • 3
  • Elisa Magnani
    • 1
  • Elda Kara
    • 1
  • Luca Roncati
    • 4
  • Antonino Maiorana
    • 4
    • 5
  • Daniele Santi
    • 1
    • 4
  • Bruno Madeo
    • 4
  • Katia Cioni
    • 4
  • Cesare Carani
    • 1
  • Vincenzo Rochira
    • 1
    • 4
  • Manuela Simoni
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
    Email author
  • Giulia Brigante
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neural Sciences, Unit of EndocrinologyUniversity of Modena and Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly
  2. 2.Center for Genomic ResearchUniversity of Modena and Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Life ScienceUniversity of Modena and Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly
  4. 4.Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria of ModenaModenaItaly
  5. 5.Department of Diagnostic and Clinical Medicine, and Public HealthUniversity of Modena and Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly

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