Dysregulation of microRNA expression in diabetic skin

Enke Baldini, Erika Testa, Christine Voellenkle, Emanuela De Domenico, Francesca Cianfarani, Fabio Martelli, Salvatore Ulisse, Teresa Odorisio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Clinical skin manifestations are common in diabetes; however, molecular mechanisms underlying such defects are largely unknown. Several findings indicate a role for microRNAs (miRNAs) in skin homeostasis. Objective: To investigate whether miRNA expression is altered in diabetic skin. Methods: Type 1 and 2 mouse models of diabetes were used. MiRNA profiling was performed on RNA extracted from the skin of type 1 diabetic mice and non-diabetic controls. Expression levels of pri-miRNAs and of miRNA-biogenesis genes were also analyzed. Biogenesis gene expression analysis was performed in human dermal fibroblasts cultured in hyperglycemic, hypoxic or oxidative stress conditions. Results: Several miRNAs were differentially expressed in diabetic skin with a general down-modulation as compared to controls. Bioinformatics analysis of signature-miRNA target genes showed the enrichment in pathways involved in skin homeostasis, such as TGF-β and Wnt. MiRNA alteration in diabetic skin associated with reduced expression levels of DROSHA, DGCR8, XPO5, DICER1, AGO2, both as mRNA and protein. Reduced biogenesis gene expression did not correlate with accumulation of pri-miRNAs, which displayed differences in expression levels similar to those found for their mature miRNAs. Experiments with cultured fibroblasts showed that hypoxia and oxidative stress induced the down-regulation of miRNA-biogenesis genes in this skin cell type. Conclusion: A general down-regulation of differentially expressed miRNAs was found in diabetic skin. This alteration is part of and is dependent from a wider transcriptional defect also affecting the expression of pri-miRNAs and of genes responsible for miRNA biogenesis. Such an alteration is likely contributing to diabetic skin manifestations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-194
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Dermatological Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Hypoxia
  • miRNA biogenesis
  • Oxidative stress
  • pri-miRNA
  • Ulcer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology


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