BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) modulate expressions of inflammatory genes, thereby regulating inflammatory responses. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in miRNAs could affect their efficiency in binding to messenger RNAs (mRNAs). OBJECTIVE: We investigated the associations of miRNA SNPs with asthma phenotypes. miR-196a2 (rs11614913 T>C), miR-146a (rs2910164 C>G), and miR-499 (rs3746444 A>G) were genotyped in 347 asthma patients and 172 normal healthy controls (NCs). RESULTS: The CT/CC genotype of miR-196a2 rs11614913 was associated with eosinophilic asthma (p = 0.004) and a higher sputum eosinophil count compared with the TT genotype (p = 0.003). The CG/GG genotype of miR-146a rs2910164 tended to be associated with higher bronchial hyperresponsiveness to methacholine (PC20) compared with the CC genotype. The AG/GG genotype of miR-499 rs3746444 was associated with higher predicted values of forced expiratory volume in 1 s (%FEV1) compared with the AA genotype (p = 0.008). CONCLUSIONS: Genetic polymorphisms in miR-196a2, miR-146a, and miR-499 could be potential biomarkers for asthma phenotypes and targets for asthma treatments in a Korean population.
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