Relations between circulating microRNAs and atrial fibrillation: data from the Framingham Offspring Study

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology; Meyers Primary Care Institute; Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Cardiology | Cardiovascular Diseases | Molecular Genetics


BACKGROUND: MicroRNA (miRNA) expression in atrial tissue has been implicated in pathologic susceptibility to atrial fibrillation (AF). Nevertheless, data on how circulating levels relate to AF are limited.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that circulating miRNAs are associated with AF.

METHODS: Among 2445 Framingham Heart Study Offspring participants, we measured the expression of 385 circulating whole blood miRNAs by high-throughput quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. We related miRNA levels with prevalent and new-onset AF. RESULTS: Mean age of the cohort was 66.3 +/- 8.9 years, and 56% were women; 153 participants had clinically apparent AF at baseline, and 107 developed AF during median follow-up of 5.4 years. miRNA-328 (miR-328) expression was lower among participants with prevalent AF (8.76 cycle threshold) compared to individuals with no AF (7.75 cycle threshold, P < .001). The association between miR-328 and prevalent AF persisted after adjustment for age, sex, and technical covariates (odds ratio 1.21, P = 1.8 x 10(-4)) but was attenuated in analyses adjusting for clinical AF risk factors (odds ratio 1.14, P = .017). In contrast to the associations between miR-328 and prevalent AF, none of the circulating miRNAs were associated with incident AF.

CONCLUSION: Circulating levels of miR-328, a miRNA known to promote atrial electrical remodeling by reducing L-type Ca(2+) channel density, were associated with prevalent AF. Adjustment for risk factors that promote atrial remodeling, including hypertension, attenuated the association between miR-328 and AF, potentially implicating miR-328 as a potential mediator of atrial remodeling and AF vulnerability. reserved.


UMCCTS funding

DOI of Published Version



Heart Rhythm. 2014 Apr;11(4):663-9. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2014.01.018. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Heart rhythm : the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID