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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2011 Aug;45(2):287-94. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2010-0323OC. Epub 2010 Oct 22.

miR-29 is a major regulator of genes associated with pulmonary fibrosis.

Author information

1
Pulmonary Center, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNA) are small regulatory RNAs that control gene expression by translational suppression and destabilization of target mRNAs. There is increasing evidence that miRNAs regulate genes associated with fibrosis in organs, such as the heart, kidney, liver, and the lung. In a large-scale screening for miRNAs potentially involved in bleomycin-induced fibrosis, we found expression of miR-29 family members significantly reduced in fibrotic lungs. Analysis of normal lungs showed the presence of miR-29 in subsets of interstitial cells of the alveolar wall, pleura, and at the entrance of the alveolar duct, known sites of pulmonary fibrosis. miR-29 levels inversely correlated with the expression levels of profibrotic target genes and the severity of the fibrosis. To study the impact of miR-29 down-regulation in the lung interstitium, we characterized gene expression profiles of human fetal lung fibroblast IMR-90 cells in which endogenous miR-29 was knocked down. This confirmed the derepression of reported miR-29 targets, including several collagens, but also revealed up-regulation of a large number of previously unrecognized extracellular matrix-associated and remodeling genes. Moreover, we found that miR-29 is suppressed by transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 in these cells, and that many fibrosis-associated genes up-regulated by TGF-β1 are derepressed by miR-29 knockdown. Interestingly, a comparison of TGF-β1 and miR-29 targets revealed that miR-29 controls an additional subset of fibrosis-related genes, including laminins and integrins, independent of TGF-β1. Together, these strongly suggest a role of miR-29 in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis. miR-29 may be a potential new therapeutic target for this disease.

PMID:
20971881
PMCID:
PMC3175558
DOI:
10.1165/rcmb.2010-0323OC
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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