Blood co-circulating extracellular micrornas and immune cell subsets associate with type 1 diabetes severity

Silvia Garavelli, Sara Bruzzaniti, Elena Tagliabue, Francesco Prattichizzo, Dario Di Silvestre, Francesco Perna, Lucia La Sala, Antonio Ceriello, Enza Mozzillo, Valentina Fattorusso, Pierluigi Mauri, Annibale A. Puca, Adriana Franzese, Giuseppe Matarese, Mario Galgani, Paola de Candia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Immune cell subsets and microRNAs have been independently proposed as type 1 diabetes (T1D) diagnostic and/or prognostic biomarkers. Here, we aimed to analyze the relationships between peripheral blood circulating immune cell subsets, plasmatic microRNAs, and T1D. Blood samples were obtained from both children with T1D at diagnosis and age-sex matched healthy controls. Then, immunophenotype assessed by flow cytometry was coupled with the quantification of 60 plasmatic microRNAs by quantitative RT-PCR. The associations between immune cell frequency, plasmatic microRNAs, and the parameters of pancreatic loss, glycemic control, and diabetic ketoacidosis were assessed by logistic regression models and correlation analyses. We found that the increase in specific plasmatic microRNAs was associated with T1D disease onset (let-7c-5p, let-7d-5p, let-7f-5p, let-7i-5p, miR-146a-5p, miR-423-3p, and miR-423-5p), serum C-peptide concentration (miR-142-5p and miR-29c-3p), glycated hemoglobin (miR-26a-5p and miR-223-3p) and the presence of ketoacidosis (miR-29c-3p) more strongly than the evaluated immune cell subset frequency. Some of these plasmatic microRNAs were shown to positively correlate with numbers of blood circulating B lymphocytes (miR-142-5p) and CD4+CD45RO+ (miR-146a-5p and miR-223-3p) and CD4+CD25+ cells (miR-423-3p and miR-223-3p) in children with T1D but not in healthy controls, suggesting a disease-specific microRNA association with immune dysregulation in T1D. In conclusion, our results suggest that, while blood co-circulating extracellular microRNAs and immune cell subsets may be biologically linked, microRNAs may better provide powerful information about T1D onset and severity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number477
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2 2020


  • Autoimmune
  • Biomarkers
  • Lymphocytes
  • MicroRNAs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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