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Children’s screen time alters the expression of saliva extracellular miR-222 and miR-146a

  • Vriens, Annette
  • Provost, Eline B
  • Saenen, Nelly D
  • De Boever, Patrick
  • Vrijens, Karen
  • De Wever, Olivier
  • Plusquin, Michelle
  • Nawrot, Tim S
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2018
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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An imbalance between energy uptake and energy expenditure is the most important reason for increasing trends in obesity starting from early in life. Extracellular miRNAs are expressed in all bodily fluids and their expression is influenced by a broad range of stimuli. We examined whether screen time, physical activity and BMI are associated with children's salivary extracellular miR-222 and miR-146a expression. In 80 children the extracellular fraction of saliva was obtained by means of differential centrifugation and ultracentrifugation. Expression levels of miR-222 and miR-146a were profiled by qPCR. We studied the association between children's salivary extracellular miRNA expression and screen time, physical activity and BMI using mixed models, while accounting for potential confounders. We found that higher screen time was positively associated with salivary extracellular miR-222 and miR-146a levels. On average, one hour more screen time use per week was associated with a 3.44% higher miR-222 (95% CI: 1.34 to 5.58; p = 0.002) and 1.84% higher miR-146a (95% CI: -0.04 to 3.75; p = 0.055) level in saliva. BMI and physical activity of the child were not significantly associated with either miR-222 or miR-146a. A sedentary behaviour, represented by screen time use in children, is associated with discernible changes in salivary expression of miR-146a and or miR-222. These miRNA targets may emerge attractive candidates to explore the role of these exposures in developmental processes of children's health.

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