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microRNA-223 and microRNA-126 are clinical indicators for predicting the plaque stability in carotid atherosclerosis patients


Studies have demonstrated the essential functions of microRNAs (miRNAs) in cardiovascular disease. Herein, we explored the roles of miR-126 and miR-223 in the prediction of plaque stability in carotid atherosclerosis (CA).Patients with CA (N = 52) and healthy volunteers (N = 25) were recruited as the study subjects and controls. First, a miRNA microarray was performed to analyze the differentially expressed miRNAs in the serum of normal controls and patients with CA. Next, the correlations of miR-223 and miR-126 expression with plaque stability-related factors were analyzed. Then, the predictive efficacy of miR-223 and miR-126 on plaque stability was analyzed by the ROC curve, and the targeting relationships of miR-223 and miR-126 with COX2 were verified. Finally, the relationship between COX2 expression and CA plaque stability was analyzed. miR-223 and miR-126 were decreased in the serum of CA patients and had good diagnostic efficacy for CA. miR-223 and miR-126 in the serum of CA patients with unstable plaques were lower than that in patients with stable plaques. miR-223 and miR-126 were negatively correlated with plaque instability-related indicators, while COX2, a direct target of miR-223 and miR-126, was positively related to plaque instability-related indicators. Lowly expressed miR-223 and miR-126 in the serum of CA patients can be used as indicators for plaque stability.

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Fig. 1: Low expression levels of miR-126 and miR-223 are found in the serum of patients with CA.
Fig. 2: Both miR-223 and miR-126 have good predictive efficiency in unstable plaques in patients with CA.
Fig. 3: miR-126 and miR-223 are negatively associated with plaque instability factors in patients with CA.
Fig. 4: COX2 is a direct target gene of miR-126 and miR-233.
Fig. 5: The COX2 expression level is positively correlated with plaque instability factors in patients with CA.

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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Authors and Affiliations



LZ contributed to the study concepts, study design; YW contributed to the literature research; LZ, YW contributed to the experimental studies and data acquisition; LZ, FQ contributed to the data analysis and statistical analysis; LZ contributed to the manuscript preparation. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Luya Zhu.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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This study was conducted following the Declaration of Helsinki in 1964 and approved by the ethics committee of Hangzhou Fuyang District Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

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Zhu, L., Wang, Y. & Qiao, F. microRNA-223 and microRNA-126 are clinical indicators for predicting the plaque stability in carotid atherosclerosis patients. J Hum Hypertens (2022).

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