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Altered Serum MicroRNAs as Novel Diagnostic Biomarkers for Atypical Coronary Artery Disease

posted on 08.09.2014, 03:09 by Jun Wang, Yinghao Pei, Yong Zhong, Shisen Jiang, Jiaqing Shao, Jianbin Gong

Background and Aim

Atypical coronary artery disease (ACAD) is characterized by atypical angina pectoris or silent myocardial ischemia. However, conventional diagnostic techniques are insufficient to identify this subtype of coronary atherosclerotic pathology, and specific and sensitive markers for diagnosing ACAD are still currently lacking. The aim of the present study is to identify a novel serum microRNA (miRNA) expression profile of ACAD patients and evaluate its clinical diagnostic value.

Patients and Methods

127 patients who were diagnosed with ACAD and 54 age-matched controls were enrolled in this study. An initial screen of miRNA expression was performed in serum samples from 35 patients and 20 controls using TaqMan Low Density Array. A stem-loop quantitative reverse-transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) assay was conducted in the training and validation sets to confirm the levels of the altered miRNAs in 122 patients with ACAD and 68 controls. In addition, the potential target genes of the altered miRNAs were predicted using bioinformatics methods.


The TaqMan low density array and RT-qPCR analysis identified four serum miRNAs including miR-487a, miR-502, miR-208 and miR-215 that were significantly increased, while one miRNA, miR-29b, that was significantly decreased in ACAD patients compared with normal controls (P<0.05). The area under the receiver-operating-characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC) for the combined 5 serum miRNAs were 0.850 (95% CI, 0.734–0.966, P<0.001) and 0.909 (95% CI, 0.858–0.960, P<0.001) for the training set and validation set, respectively. In addition, target gene prediction showed that these five altered miRNAs are involved in affecting various aspects of cardiac or vascular remodeling, especially in the pathway involving inflammation and fibrosis.


Our findings indicate that the five altered serum miRNAs could be novel non-invasive biomarkers for ACAD and may also represent potential therapeutic targets for atherosclerosis and myocardial ischemia.