The aim is To evaluate sex differences in microRNA (miRNA) expression, anthropometric measures, and cardiometabolic risk factors in Hispanic adolescents with obesity. Cross-sectional study of 68 (60% male) Hispanic adolescents with obesity, aged 13-17 years, recruited from a pediatric weight management clinic. We used small RNA sequencing to identify differentially expressed circulating miRNAs. We used ingenuity pathway analysis and David bioinformatic resource tools to identify target genes for these miRNAs and enriched pathways. We used standard procedures to measure anthropometric and cardiometabolic factors.

We identified 5 miRNAs (miR-24-3p, miR-361-3p, miR-3605-5p, miR-486-5p, and miR-199b-3p) that differed between females and males. miRNA targets-enriched pathways included phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-protein, 5′ AMP-activated protein kinase, insulin resistance, sphingolipid, transforming growth factor-β, adipocyte lipolysis regulation, and oxytocin signaling pathways. In addition, there were sex differences in blood pressure, skeletal muscle mass, lean body mass, and percent body fat. We have identified sex differences in miRNA expression in Hispanic adolescents relevant to cardiometabolic health. Future studies should focus on sex-specific mechanistic roles of miRNAs on gene pathways associated with obesity pathophysiology to support development of precision cardiometabolic interventions.

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