Exposure to diabetes in utero influences future metabolic health of the offspring. MicroRNAs (miRNA) are small noncoding RNAs that may contribute mechanistically to the effects on offspring imparted by diabetes mellitus (DM) during pregnancy. We hypothesized that exposure to DM during pregnancy influences select miRNAs in fetal circulation, in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC), and placenta.
miRNA abundance was quantified using real-time PCR from RNA isolated from umbilical cord serum exosomes, HUVEC, and placenta exposed to diabetes or normoglycemia during pregnancy. The abundance of each of these miRNAs was determined by comparison to a known standard and the relative expression assessed using the 2 method. Multivariable regression models examined the associations between exposure to diabetes during pregnancy and miRNA expression.
miR-126-3p was highly abundant in fetal circulation, HUVEC, and placenta. Diabetes exposure during pregnancy resulted in lower expression of miR-148a-3p and miR-29a-3p in the HUVEC. In the placenta, for miR-126-3p, there was a differential effect of DM by birth weight between DM versus control group, expression being lower at the lower birth weight, however not different at the higher birth weight.
Exposure to DM during pregnancy alters miRNA expression in the offspring in a tissue-specific manner.
miRNAs are differentially expressed in fetal tissues from offspring exposed to in utero diabetes mellitus compared to those who were not exposed.miRNA expression differs among tissue types (human umbilical vein endothelial cells, placenta and circulation exosomes) and response to diabetes exposure varies according to tissue of origin.miRNA expression is also affected by maternal and infant characteristics such as infant birth weight, infant sex, maternal age, and maternal BMI.miRNAs might be one of the potential mechanisms by which offspring’s future metabolic status may be influenced by maternal diabetes mellitus.