Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines Promote the Transcription of Circular RNAs in Human Pancreatic β Cells

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Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have recently been implicated in impaired β-cell function in diabetes. Using microarray-based profiling of circRNAs in human EndoC-βH1 cells treated with pro-inflammatory cytokines, this study aimed to investigate the expression and possible regulatory roles of circRNAs in human β cells. We identified ~5000 β-cell-expressed circRNAs, of which 84 were differentially expressed (DE) after cytokine exposure. Pathway analysis of the host genes of the DE circRNAs revealed the enrichment of cytokine signaling pathways, indicative of circRNA transcription from inflammatory genes in response to cytokines. Multiple binding sites for β-cell-enriched microRNAs and RNA-binding proteins were observed for the highly upregulated circRNAs, supporting their function as ‘sponges’ or ‘decoys’. We also present evidence for circRNA sequence conservation in multiple species, the presence of cytokine-induced regulatory elements, and putative protein-coding potential for the DE circRNAs. This study highlights the complex regulatory potential of circRNAs, which may play a crucial role during immune-mediated β-cell destruction in type 1 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number69
JournalNon-coding RNA
Issue number5
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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© 2022 by the authors.

    Research areas

  • circRNA, CRIM1, EPSTI1, human islets, inflammation, microarray, miRNA, non-coding RNA, type 1 diabetes, WARS

ID: 324558884