Urinary microRNAome in healthy cats and cats with pyelonephritis or other urological conditions

Marta Godia, Louise Brogaard, Emilio Marmol-Sanchez, Rebecca Langhorn, Ida Nordang Kieler, Bert Jan Reezigt, Lise Nikolic Nielsen, Lisbeth Rem Jessen, Susanna Cirera*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. miRNAs have been found in urine and have shown diagnostic potential in human nephropathies. Here, we aimed to characterize, for the first time, the feline urinary miRNAome and explore the use of urinary miRNA profiles as non-invasive biomarkers for feline pyelonephritis (PN). Thirty-eight cats were included in a prospective casecontrol study and classified in five groups: healthy Control cats (n = 11), cats with PN (n = 10), cats with subclinical bacteriuria or cystitis (SB/C, n = 5), cats with ureteral obstruction (n = 7) and cats with chronic kidney disease (n = 5). By small RNA sequencing we identified 212 miRNAs in cat urine, including annotated (n = 137) and putative novel (n = 75) miRNAs. The 15 most highly abundant urinary miRNAs accounted for nearly 71% of all detected miRNAs, most of which were previously identified in feline kidney. Ninety-nine differentially abundant (DA) miRNAs were identified when comparing Control cats to cats with urological conditions and 102 DA miRNAs when comparing PN to other urological conditions. Tissue clustering analysis revealed that the majority of urine samples clustered close to kidney, which confirm the likely cellular origin of the secreted urinary miRNAs. Relevant DA miRNAs were verified by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR). Eighteen miRNAs discriminated Control cats from cats with a urological condition. Of those, seven miRNAs were DA by both RNAseq and qPCR methods between Control and PN cats (miR-125b-5p, miR-27a-3p, miR-21- 5p, miR-27b-3p, miR-125a-5p, miR-17-5p and miR-23a-3p) or DA between Control and SB/ C cats (miR-125b-5p). Six additional miRNAs (miR-30b-5p, miR-30c, miR-30e-5p, miR- 27a-3p, miR-27b-39 and miR-222) relevant for discriminating PN from other urological conditions were identified by qPCR alone (n = 4) or by both methods (n = 2) (P<0.05). This panel of 13 miRNAs has potential as non-invasive urinary biomarkers for diagnostic of PN and other urological conditions in cats.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0270067
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7 July
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes


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