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Carcinogenesis. 2010 May;31(5):894-901. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgq037. Epub 2010 Feb 9.

Modulation of microRNA expression by budesonide, phenethyl isothiocyanate and cigarette smoke in mouse liver and lung.

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  • 1Department of Health Sciences, University of Genoa, Via A. Pastore 1, I-16132 Genoa, Italy.


Although microRNAs (miRNA) have extensively been investigated in cancer research, less attention has been paid to their regulation by carcinogens and/or protective factors in early stages of the carcinogenesis process. The present study was designed to evaluate the modulation of mRNA expression as related to exposure of neonatal mice to environmental cigarette smoke (ECS) and to treatment with chemopreventive agents. Exposure to ECS started immediately after birth and for 2 weeks after weaning. Thereafter, groups of mice received daily either budesonide (BUD) or phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) with the diet. The expression of 576 miRNAs was evaluated by miRNA microarray in liver and lung. In sham-exposed mice, the expression of miRNAs tended to be higher in liver than in lung. ECS downregulated the expression of a number of miRNAs in lung, whereas mixed alterations were observed in liver. PEITC and BUD did not substantially affect the physiological situation in lung, whereas both agents caused intense variations in liver, reflecting the occurrence of damage mechanisms, such as inflammation, DNA and protein damage, cellular stress, proliferation and apoptosis. PEITC and BUD protected the lung from ECS-induced alterations of miRNA expression but exhibited some adverse effects in liver.

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