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MicroRNA-496 and Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Expression are Associated with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Obesity in Elderly People

BACKGROUND:

Mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) regulates lipid and glucose metabolism thus playing a key role in metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Recently, we demonstrated a functional interaction of microRNA-496 (miR-496) with mTOR and its impact on the regulation of human ageing.

OBJECTIVES:

As T2DM is most prevalent in older adults, we hypothesized that miR-496 may also have an impact on mTOR regulation in T2DM.

METHODS:

Based on real-time PCR and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, mTOR gene and protein expression as well as miR-496 expression were monitored in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from T2DM patients (median age: 71) and healthy age- and BMI matched controls (median age: 69). -Results: We demonstrated significant upregulation of phospho-mTOR and P70S6 Kinase (P70S6K) levels and significant downregulation of miR-496 in PBMC from elderly T2DM patients in comparison to a BMI and age-matched control cohort. Moreover, significant upregulation of phospho-mTOR protein and significant downregulation of miR-496 were observed in advanced stages of obesity.

CONCLUSIONS:

BMI-dependent upregulation of mTOR and the inverse expression profile of miR-496 observed in elderly T2DM patients suggest a correlation with T2DM. Hence, our results indicate a potential association of miR-496 with mTOR expression in elderly T2DM patients and obesity. Since phosphorylation of P70S6K was also elevated in T2DM patients, we conclude that mTOR signaling through TORC1 may be affected in the regulation of T2DM.

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