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With type 2 diabetes presenting at younger ages, there is a growing need to identify biomarkers of future glucose intolerance. A high (20%) prevalence of glucose intolerance at 18 years was seen in women from the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study (PMNS) birth cohort. We investigated the potential of circulating microRNAs in risk stratification for future pre-diabetes in these women. Here, we provide preliminary longitudinal analyses of circulating microRNAs in normal glucose tolerant (NGT@18y, N = 10) and glucose intolerant (N = 8) women (ADA criteria) at 6, 12 and 17 years of their age using discovery analysis (OpenArray™ platform). Machine-learning workflows involving Lasso with bootstrapping/leave-one-out cross-validation identified microRNAs associated with glucose intolerance at 18 years of age. Several microRNAs, including miR-212-3p, miR-30e-3p and miR-638, stratified glucose-intolerant women from NGT at childhood. Our results suggest that circulating microRNAs, longitudinally assessed over 17 years of life, are dynamic biomarkers associated with and predictive of pre-diabetes at 18 years of age. Validation of these findings in males and remaining participants from the PMNS birth cohort will provide a unique opportunity to study novel epigenetic mechanisms in the life-course progression of glucose intolerance and enhance current clinical risk prediction of pre-diabetes and progression to type 2 diabetes.
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