neuro inflammation, mirna signature, athlete, gene expression profile, traumatic brain injury
Psychological and physical stress can induce dysregulation of gene expression via changes in DNA methylation and microRNA (miRNA) expression. Such epigenetic modifications are yet to be investigated in professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters subject to highly stressful training involving repetitive head impacts. This study examined differences in DNA methylation and miRNA expression in elite MMA fighters compared to active controls. Global methylation differences between groups were assessed via a LINE-1 assay. At the same time, PCR arrays were used to estimate differential expression in samples of 21 fighters and 15 controls for 192 different miRNAs associated with inflammatory diseases. An IndependentSamples t-Test found no significant difference in LINE-1 methylation between groups. However, an Independent-Samples Mann-Whitney U Test revealed a significant upregulation in the expression of miR155 in MMA fighter plasma. Since miR-155 has been recognized as an important regulator of neuroinflammation, this dysregulation suggests a possible epigenetic mechanism responsible for chronic inflammation associated with professional-level MMA training. Consistent with other published works, this study highlights the potential of miR-155 not only as a biomarker for monitoring long-term health risks linked to head trauma but also as a target to remediate the impact of chronic neuroinflammation.
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Cabrera, Dominick; Kayla Thompson; Julius D. Thomas; Corey Peacock; Jose Antonio; Jaime Tartar; and Aurelien Tartar. 2023. "Dysregulation of miR-155 Expression in Professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Fighters." Cureus 15, (2): e34944. doi:10.7759/cureus.34944.