PloS one 2017 07 2712(7) e0180329 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0180329
Circulating microRNAs (miRNA) are promising biomarkers for human diseases. Our study hypothesizes that circulating miRNA would reveal candidate biomarkers related to airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and provide biologic insights into asthma epigenetic influences.
Serum samples obtained at randomization for 160 children in the Childhood Asthma Management Program were profiled using a TaqMan miRNA array set. The association of the isolated miRNA with methacholine PC20 was assessed. Network and pathway analyses were performed. Functional validation of two significant miRNAs was performed in human airway smooth muscle cells (HASMs).
Of 155 well-detected circulating miRNAs, eight were significantly associated with PC20 with the strongest association with miR-296-5p. Pathway analysis revealed miR-16-5p as a network hub, and involvement of multiple miRNAs interacting with genes in the FoxO and Hippo signaling pathways by KEGG analysis. Functional validation of two miRNA in HASM showed effects on cell growth and diameter.
Reduced circulatory miRNA expression at baseline is associated with an increase in PC20. These miRNA provide biologic insights into, and may serve as biomarkers of, asthma severity. miR-16-5p and -30d-5p regulate airway smooth muscle phenotypes critically involved in asthma pathogenesis, supporting a mechanistic link to these findings. Functional ASM phenotypes may be directly relevant to AHR.