Endothelial dysfunction represents a key mechanism underlying heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), diabetes mellitus (DM), and frailty. However, reliable biomarkers to monitor endothelial dysfunction in these patients are lacking. In this study, we evaluated the expression of a panel of circulating microRNAs (miRs) involved in the regulation of endothelial function in a population of frail older adults with HFpEF and DM treated for 3 months with empagliflozin, metformin, or insulin. We identified a distinctive pattern of miRs that were significantly regulated in HFpEF patients compared to healthy controls and to HFpEF patients treated with the sodium glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor empagliflozin. Three miRs were significantly downregulated (miR-126, miR-342-3p, and miR-638) and two were significantly upregulated (miR-21 and miR-92) in HFpEF patients compared to healthy controls. Strikingly, two of these miRs (miR-21 and miR-92) were significantly reduced in HFpEF patients after the 3-month treatment with empagliflozin, whereas no significant differences in the profile of endothelial miRs were detected in patients treated with metformin or insulin. Taken together, our findings demonstrate for the first time that specific circulating miRs involved in the regulation of endothelial function are significantly regulated in frail HFpEF patients with DM and in response to SGLT2 inhibition.
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