Background and Objectives: Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) is proatherogenic and associated with the risk of acute ischemic events, although the mechanisms that regulate TNF-α expression in stable coronary artery disease (SCAD) are not fully understood. We investigated whether metabolic, inflammatory, and epigenetic (microRNA (miRNA)) markers are associated with TNF-α expression in SCAD. Materials and Methods: Patients with SCAD were prospectively recruited and their metabolic and inflammatory profiles were assessed. TNF-α levels were assessed using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The relative expression of six circulating miRNAs associated with the regulation of inflammation and/or atherosclerosis was determined. Results: Of the 24 included patients with the mean age of 65 (9) years, 88% were male, and 54% were diabetic. The TNF-α levels were (median (interquartile range)) 1.0 (0.7–1.1) pg/mL. The percentage of glycosylated hemoglobin (r = 0.418, p = 0.042), serum triglyceride levels (r = 0.429, p = 0.037), and C-reactive protein levels (r = 0.407, p = 0.048) were positively correlated with TNF-α levels. Of the candidate miRNAs, miR-146a expression levels were negatively correlated with TNF-α levels (as indicated by r = 0.500, p = 0.035 for correlation between delta cycle threshold (∆Ct) miR-146a and TNF-α levels). In multivariate analysis, serum triglyceride levels and miR-146a expression levels were independently associated with TNF-α levels. miR-146 expression levels were not associated with metabolic or other inflammatory parameters and were negatively correlated with the number of coronary vessels with obstructive disease (as indicated by r = 0.556, p = 0.017 for correlation between ∆Ct miR-146a and number of diseased vessels). Conclusions: miR-146a expression levels were negatively correlated with TNF-α levels in patients with SCAD, irrespective of other metabolic or inflammatory markers, and with the severity of coronary artery disease. The results add to the knowledge on the role of miR-146a in TNF-α-based inflammation in SCAD and support future research on the potential therapeutic use of miR-146a in such a clinical scenario.
- Stable coronary artery disease
- Tumor necrosis factor alpha