MicroRNA (miRNA) mainly inhibit post-transcriptional gene expression of specific targets and may modulate disease severity.
We aimed to identify miRNA signatures distinguishing patient clusters with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS).
We previously determined four FMS patient clusters labelled “maladaptive”, “adaptive”, “vulnerable”, and “resilient”. Here, we cluster-wise assessed relative gene expression of miR103a-3p, miR107, miR130a-3p, and miR125a-5p in white blood cell (WBC) RNA of 31 FMS patients and 16 healthy controls. Sum scores of pain-, stress-, and resilience-related questionnaires were correlated with miRNA relative gene expression. A cluster-specific speculative model of a miRNA-mediated regulatory cycle was proposed, and its potential targets verified by the online tool “target scan human”.
One-way ANOVA revealed lower gene expression of miR103a-3p, miR107, and miR130a-3p in FMS patients compared to controls (p < 0.05). Follow-up post-hoc tests indicated the highest peak of gene expression of miR103a-3p for the adaptive cluster (p < 0.05), i.e. in patients with low disability in all symptom categories. Gene expression of miR103a-3p correlated with FMS related disability and miR107 with the score "physical abuse" of the trauma questionnaire (p < 0.05). Target scan identified sucrose non-fermentable serine/threonine protein kinase, nuclear factor kappa-b, cyclin dependent kinase, and toll-like receptor 4 as genetic targets of the miR103a/107 miRNA family.
We show an association between upregulated gene expression of miR103a, tendentially of miR107, and adaptive coping in FMS patients. Validation of this pair of miRNA may enable to identify a somatic resilience factor in FMS.