CLINICAL BIOCHEMISTRY, vol.107, pp.33-39, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)
Background: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare disease with a poor prognosis. The suppression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression has been known to impair vascular function in endothelial cells; however, the epigenetic factors that cause this are largely obscure. Our aim in this study was to examine the poly-morphisms in the gene for COX-2 (PTGS2) and related miRNAs regulating its level in a single-center cohort of patients with PAH. Method: In this study, three SNPs and miRNAs (rs5275, rs689470, rs20417, miR-26b-5p, miR-146a-5p, and miR-101-5p) in the PTGS2 were screened in PAH and controls by qPCR. In addition, the COX-2 level was determined by immunoassay to examine the effects of epigenetic factors on its expression levels. Results: The non-dominant genotypes of rs20417 and rs5275 were found to be related to PAH (OR = 8.56, 95% CI = 3.39-21.63, p < 0.0001 and OR = 7.82, 95% CI = 3.30-18.53, p < 0.0001, respectively). We also observed a significant increase in the miR-26b-5p and miR-146a-5p levels in PAH patients (2.18 and 2.35-fold, respectively; for both, p < 0.05). In addition, it was found that SNPs influenced the COX-2, miR-26b-5p, and miR-146a-5p levels in PAH. A negative correlation was also found between COX-2 levels and miR-26b-5p and miR-146a-5p. Conclusions: As conventional drug therapies may cause lower COX-2 levels, the development of new genetic or epigenetic biomarkers is crucially important for early diagnosis and prognosis. The presence of minor alleles for rs5275 and rs689470 might also be considered as a significant risk factor for developing PAH. Furthermore, locus-specific miRNAs, such as miR-26b-5p and miR-146a-5p, seem to play a critical role in the regulation of PTGS2 expression.