41 Scopus citations


As childhood obesity increases, it is becoming important to understand the complications of obesity in children and develop novel biomarkers. Evidence indicates that microRNAs (miRNA) are dys-regulated in obesity and may serve as sensitive and specific circulating biomarkers. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a complication of obesity that ultimately requires a liver biopsy to determine disease severity. While studies have been conducted in adults, no study to date has examined circulating miRNAs in children with obesity and NAFLD. The goal of this study was to evaluate a panel of selected circulating miRNAs in obese children compared to healthy controls. We present here an analysis of a pre-selected panel of 20 candidate miRNAs in obese children compared to healthy controls. The miRNAs were chosen based on having been previously reported to be involved in NAFLD. We found that 16 out of 20 miRNAs tested were elevated at least twofold in children with obesity compared to controls. miR-122 and miR-199a showed the greatest increase in children with obesity versus controls. Both also had a high area under the curve when receiver–operator curves were plotted. Several circulating miRNAs correlated with body mass index (BMI) or serum transaminases. This study provides initial evidence that circulating miRNAs can be measured in the paediatric population and provides several diagnostic candidates increased in children with obesity that may be relevant to NAFLD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-221
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Obesity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • Biomarkers
  • circulating microRNA
  • fatty liver
  • paediatric obesity


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