Purpose: It has been demonstrated that circulating microRNA profiles are affected by physiological conditions. Several studies have demonstrated that microRNAs play important roles in the regulation of adiposity. However, few have investigated the relationship between circulating microRNAs and obesity, which has become a major public health problem worldwide. This study investigated the association between circulating microRNAs and obesity in a Japanese population. Methods: Obesity parameters, such as subcutaneous and visceral fat adipose tissue, body fat percentage, and body mass index were assessed in a cross-sectional sample of 526 participants who attended health examinations in Yakumo, Japan. In addition, five circulating microRNAs (miR-20a, -21, -27a, -103a, and -320), which are involved in adipocyte proliferation and differentiation, were quantified using real-time polymerase chain reaction amplification. Results: We compared the circulating microRNA concentrations in a percentile greater than 75th (high) with below the value (low) of subcutaneous adipose tissue, visceral fat adipose tissue, body mass index, and per cent body fat. For visceral fat adipose tissue, significant decrease in miR-320 expression was observed in high group. Also, for body mass index, significant change of miR-20a, -27a, 103a, and 320 expression level was observed in high group. Multiple linear regression analysis demonstrated that circulating levels of some microRNA such as miR-27a were significantly associated with subcutaneous adipose tissue, visceral fat adipose tissue, and body mass index. Conclusions: Our findings support the need for further studies to determine whether such changes are consistent across different populations and whether the identified microRNAs may represent novel biomarkers to predict the susceptibility and progression of obesity-related disorders.
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