Cigarette smoking is a risk factor for the development of peripheral artery disease (PAD), although the proatherosclerotic mediators of cigarette smoking are not entirely known. We explored whether circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) are dysregulated in cigarette smokers and associated with the presence of PAD. Ninety-four participants were recruited, including 58 individuals without and 36 with PAD, 51 never smokers, 28 prior smokers, and 15 active smokers. The relative expression of six circulating miRNAs with distinct biological roles (miR-21, miR-27b, miR-29a, miR-126, miR-146, and miR-218) was assessed. Cigarette smoking was associated with the presence of PAD in multivariate analysis. Active smokers, but not prior smokers, presented miR-27b downregulation and higher leukocyte, neutrophil, and lymphocyte counts; miR-27b expression levels were independently associated with active smoking. Considering the metabolic and/or inflammatory abnormalities induced by cigarette smoking, miR-27b was independently associated with the presence of PAD and downregulated in patients with more extensive PAD. In conclusion, the atheroprotective miR-27b was downregulated in active smokers, but not in prior smokers, and miR-27b expression was independently associated with the presence of PAD. These unreported data suggest that the proatherogenic properties of cigarette smoking are mediated by a downregulation of miR-27b, which may be attenuated by smoking cessation.
- cigarette smoking
- peripheral artery disease