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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2014 Jan;25(1):92-104. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2012111101. Epub 2013 Sep 12.

Downregulation of microRNA-30 facilitates podocyte injury and is prevented by glucocorticoids.

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  • 1Research Institute of Nephrology, Jinling Hospital, Nanjing University School of Medicine, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are essential for podocyte homeostasis, and the miR-30 family may be responsible for this action. However, the exact roles and clinical relevance of miR-30s remain unknown. In this study, we examined the expression of the miR-30 family in the podocytes of patients with FSGS and found that all members are downregulated. Treating cultured human podocytes with TGF-β, LPS, or puromycin aminonucleoside (PAN) also downregulated the miR-30 family. Podocyte cytoskeletal damage and apoptosis caused by treatment with TGF-β or PAN were ameliorated by exogenous miR-30 expression and aggravated by miR-30 knockdown. Moreover, we found that miR-30s exert their protective roles by direct inhibition of Notch1 and p53, which mediate podocyte injury. In rats, treatment with PAN substantially downregulated podocyte miR-30s and induced proteinuria and podocyte injury; however, transfer of exogenous miR-30a to podocytes of PAN-treated rats ameliorated proteinuria and podocyte injury and reduced Notch1 activation. Finally, we demonstrated that glucocorticoid treatment maintains miR-30 expression in cultured podocytes treated with TGF-β, LPS, or PAN and in the podocytes of PAN-treated rats. Glucocorticoid-sustained miR-30 expression associated with reduced Notch1 activation and alleviated podocyte damage. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that miR-30s protect podocytes by targeting Notch1 and p53 and that the loss of miR-30s facilitates podocyte injury. In addition, sustained miR-30 expression may be a novel mechanism underlying the therapeutic effectiveness of glucocorticoids in treating podocytopathy.

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