MicroRNA 34a (miR-34a) is involved in regulating tissue senescence. However, the role of miR-34a in age-related cataracts is unclear. In this study, we evaluated the correlations among the severity of lens opacity, patient age, and miR-34a expression level in the lens epithelium of age-related cataracts for clarifying the role of miR-34a in the lens senescence.
This study was carried as a case control study in the Department of Ophthalmology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan. We recorded age of each patient at the time of their cataract surgery and information regarding lens opacity according to a modified version of the Lens Opacities Classification System III. Correlations among age, lens opacity, and miR-34a expression levels were evaluated.
This study evaluated 110 patients with a mean age of 73.19 years (SD±10.2). Older patients had higher nuclear cataract (NC), cortical (C), and posterior subcapsular cataract (P) scores (one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), P<0.05). miR-34a expression levels were significantly different between each age group (ANOVA post hoc Bonferroni's test, P<0.001), and there were moderate correlations between high NC, C, and P cataract scores and high miR-34a levels (Pearson correlation coefficient; R=0.606, 0.575, and 0.515, respectively).
The current study demonstrated positive correlations between high miR-34a levels and high lens opacity severity in NC, C, or P cataracts. These results suggest that miR-34a expression has a role in lens senescence.