Urinary chromium is associated with changes in leukocyte miRNA expression in obese subjects

L. Dioni, S. Sucato, V. Motta, S. Iodice, L. Angelici, C. Favero, T. Cavalleri, L. Vigna, B. Albetti, S. Fustinoni, P. Bertazzi, A. Pesatori, V. Bollati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/Objectives:Epidemiological studies suggest a link between chromium (Cr) status and cardiovascular disease. Increased urinary excretion of Cr was reported in subjects with diabetes compared with non-diabetic controls and those with non-diabetic insulin resistance. Epigenetic alterations have been linked to the presence of Cr, and microRNA (miRNA) expression has been implicated in the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). We investigated the association between Cr excretion and miRNA expression in leukocytes from obese subjects. We also examined the relationship between altered miRNA expression and selected clinical parameters to further investigate mechanisms linking Cr to metabolic diseases and CVDs.Subjects/Methods:We analyzed urinary Cr in 90 Italian subjects using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Peripheral blood miRNA levels were screened with TaqMan Low-Density Array Human MicroRNA A. Cr level-associated expression of miRNAs was detected with multivariate regression analyses, and the top 10 candidate miRNAs were selected for validation. We also used multivariate regression analyses to assess possible associations between validated miRNAs and glycated hemoglobin (A1c) and blood pressure (BP). The validated miRNAs were further investigated by functional analysis with Ingenuity Pathway Analysis software.Results:Urinary Cr levels (mean: 0.35 μg/l; s.d.=0.24) ranged from 0.05 to 1.27 μg/l. In the screening phase, 43 miRNAs were negatively associated with Cr. Of the top 10 miRNAs selected for validation, nine (miR-451, miR-301, miR-15b, miR-21, miR-26a, miR-362-3p, miR-182, miR-183 and miR-486-3p) were downregulated in association with Cr (P-false discovery rate (FDR)<0.10). miR-451 expression was associated with A1c (β=–0.06; P=0.0416), whereas miR-486-3p expression was associated both with diastolic (β=2.1; P=0.004) and systolic BP (β=3.3; P=0.003).Conclusions:These results indicate that miR-451 and miR-486-3p are involved in the link between Cr levels and metabolic diseases and CVDs.European Journal of Clinical Nutrition advance online publication, 12 October 2016; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2016.197.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-148
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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