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Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2013 Sep;238(9):1024-32. doi: 10.1177/1535370213497321. Epub 2013 Aug 7.

MiR-223 modulates multidrug resistance via downregulation of ABCB1 in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.

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Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, The First Hospital of Shangjiazhuang City, Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province 050011, China.


Multidrug resistance (MDR) has become a major impediment to a successful treatment for liver cancer patients, and one of the common reasons for MDR is the activation of ABCB1 gene, leading to the over-expression of P-glycoprotein (P-gp), which conferred cancer cells be resistant to a broad range of anticancer drugs. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of short, non-coding RNA moleculars that can regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. In the current study, the aim is to explore whether miRNA participates in the regulation of MDR mediated by ABCB1. We found that the expression of ABCB1 was correlated with the doxorubicin IC50 dose in eight hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell lines: Hep3B, HCC3, LM-6, SMMC7721, Huh-7, SK-Hep-1, HepG2 and BEL-7402. Using the bioinformatics, we discovered that there were several miRNAs that can bind to the 3'UTR of ABCB1 gene. Among these candidate miRNAs, miR-223 was chosen for further study. Then, EGFP reporter assay, real-time PCR and Western blot were performed to verify that miR-223 targeted ABCB1 3'UTR directly, and miR-223 downregulated ABCB1 at both mRNA and protein levels. Finally, we found that the over-expression of miR-223 increased the HCC cell sensitivity to anticancer drugs, and the inhibition of miR-223 had the opposite effect. Importantly, the over-expression or silencing of ABCB1 can rescue the cell response to the anticancer drugs mediated by miR-223 over-expression or inhibition, respectively. In conclusion, our findings indicated that miR-223 played an important role in the regulation of MDR mediated by ABCB1, and it suggests that miR-223 may be considered as a therapeutic biomarker for HCC patients who had MDR problems induced by high expression of ABCB1.


ABCB1; Hepatocellular carcinoma; P-glycoprotein; miR-223; microRNA; multidrug resistance

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