BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play crucial roles in the development of various diseases, including chronic kidney disease (CKD). Although previous studies in clinically severe patients have investigated associations between CKD and miRNAs, with particular attention on renal fibrosis, relationships in a general population have yet to be established. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between expression level of circulating miRNAs and CKD in a middle-aged Japanese population. METHODS: A final total of 513 individuals (216 men and 297 women) who participated in the health check-up program in 2012 were included in our analysis. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to determine expression levels of 22 miRNAs. Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was calculated based on serum creatinine level, sex, and age. Participants with eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73 m2 were defined as having CKD. RESULTS: Three different miRNAs (miR-17, miR-21, and miR-150) showed significant correlations with eGFR after Bonferroni correction and were selected for further analyses. Expression levels of miR-17, miR-21, and miR-150 miRNAs were positively associated with eGFR after adjusting for potential confounders (P = 0.004, 0.002, and 0.004, respectively). Logistic regression analyses showed significantly lower odds ratios for CKD (eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73 m2) in the highest tertile of all three miRNAs (miR-17, miR-21, and miR-150) compared with the lowest tertile (P = 0.003, 0.01, and 0.02, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: We found that three circulating miRNAs were significantly associated with CKD in a general Japanese population, which suggested that these miRNAs may be biomarkers for CKD among general adults.
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