Plasma microRNA levels in male and female children with cystic fibrosis

C. Mooney, P. J. McKiernan, R. Raoof, D. C. Henshall, B. Linnane, P. McNally, A. M. A. Glasgow & C. M. Greene

A gender gap exists in cystic fibrosis (CF). Here we investigate whether plasma microRNA expression profiles differ between the sexes in CF children. MicroRNA expression was quantified in paediatric CF plasma (n = 12; six females; Age range:1–6; Median Age: 3; 9 p.Phe508del homo- or heterozygotes) using TaqMan OpenArray Human miRNA Panels. Principal component analysis indicated differences in male versus female miRNA profiles. The miRNA array analysis revealed two miRNAs which were significantly increased in the female samples (miR-885-5p; fold change (FC):5.07, adjusted p value: 0.026 and miR-193a-5p; FC:2.6, adjusted p value: 0.031), although only miR-885-5p was validated as increased in females using specific qPCR assay (p < 0.0001). Gene ontology analysis of miR-885-5p validated targets identified cell migration, motility and fibrosis as processes potentially affected, with RAC1-mediated signalling featuring significantly. There is a significant increase in miR-885-5p in plasma of females versus males with CF under six years of age.


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