Mapping the methylation status of the miR-145 promoter in saphenous vein smooth muscle cells from individuals with type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes mellitus prevalence is growing globally, and the leading cause of mortality in these patients is cardiovascular disease. Epigenetic mechanisms such as microRNAs (miRs) and DNA methylation may contribute to complications of type 2 diabetes mellitus. We discovered an aberrant type 2 diabetes mellitus–smooth muscle cell phenotype driven by persistent up-regulation of miR-145. This study aimed to determine whether elevated expression was due to changes in methylation at the miR-145 promoter. Smooth muscle cells were cultured from saphenous veins of 22 non-diabetic and 22 type 2 diabetes mellitus donors. DNA was extracted, bisulphite treated and pyrosequencing used to interrogate methylation at 11 CpG sites within the miR-145 promoter. Inter-patient variation was high irrespective of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Differential methylation trends were apparent between non-diabetic and type 2 diabetes mellitus–smooth muscle cells at most sites but were not statistically significant. Methylation at CpGs −112 and −106 was consistently lower than all other sites explored in non-diabetic and type 2 diabetes mellitus–smooth muscle cells. Finally, miR-145 expression per se was not correlated with methylation levels observed at any site. The persistent up-regulation of miR-145 observed in type 2 diabetes mellitus–smooth muscle cells is not related to methylation at the miR-145 promoter. Crucially, miR-145 methylation is highly variable between patients, serving as a cautionary note for future studies of this region in primary human cell types.