The MicroRNA Landscape of Acute Beta Cell Destruction in Type 1 Diabetic Recipients of Intraportal Islet Grafts

Geert A Martens, Geert Stangé, Lorenzo Piemonti, Jasper Anckaert, Zhidong Ling, Daniel G Pipeleers, Frans K Gorus, Pieter Mestdagh, Dieter De Smet, Jo Vandesompele, Bart Keymeulen, Sarah Roels

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Ongoing beta cell death in type 1 diabetes (T1D) can be detected using biomarkers selectively discharged by dying beta cells into plasma. microRNA-375 (miR-375) ranks among the top biomarkers based on studies in animal models and human islet transplantation. Our objective was to identify additional microRNAs that are co-released with miR-375 proportionate to the amount of beta cell destruction. RT-PCR profiling of 733 microRNAs in a discovery cohort of T1D patients 1 h before/after islet transplantation indicated increased plasma levels of 22 microRNAs. Sub-selection for beta cell selectivity resulted in 15 microRNAs that were subjected to double-blinded multicenter analysis. This led to the identification of eight microRNAs that were consistently increased during early graft destruction: besides miR-375, these included miR-132/204/410/200a/429/125b, microRNAs with known function and enrichment in beta cells. Their potential clinical translation was investigated in a third independent cohort of 46 transplant patients by correlating post-transplant microRNA levels to C-peptide levels 2 months later. Only miR-375 and miR-132 had prognostic potential for graft outcome, and none of the newly identified microRNAs outperformed miR-375 in multiple regression. In conclusion, this study reveals multiple beta cell-enriched microRNAs that are co-released with miR-375 and can be used as complementary biomarkers of beta cell death.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1693
Number of pages19
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2021


  • beta cell
  • biomarkers
  • islet transplantation
  • microRNA
  • type 1 diabetes


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