Circulating microRNAs are regulated in overweight/obese children: preliminary results of the I.Family Study

A team of I.Family researchers in Italy have found a correlation between the regulation of microRNA and obesity in children.

“MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNAs involved in the modulation of gene expression and control of numerous cell functions,” explains Dr. Giuseppe Iacomino, lead author on the study. “Recent studies have shown that they are suitable as potential circulating biomarkers for a variety of diseases and conditions and we wanted to explore this in relation to obesity.”

The study followed twenty children from the I.Family Italian cohort, 10 overweight or obese and  10 of a normal weight. In all, eight miRNAs were selected, sampled from each child and screened to compare expression levels between the two groups.

“We found that three of the eight miRNAs were differently regulated between the two groups,” Giuseppe continues. “Causal links can’t be confirmed because of the manner of the study, but we can suggest that there is a relationship between these particular miRNAs and obesity in children.”

These circulating miRNAs may be novel biomarkers of obesity and related metabolic disturbances. There will be future studies on much larger samples of children from the I.Family cohort, and the research team hopes that these will contribute to whether these miRNAs play a role in disease pathogenesis, are indicators of a metabolic dysfunction, or both.

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