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Physiol Genomics. 2013 Dec 1;45(23):1144-56. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00090.2013. Epub 2013 Oct 1.

Characteristics of microRNAs enriched in specific cell types and primary tissue types in solid organs.

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Department of Physiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin;


Knowledge of miRNA expression and function in specific cell types in solid organs is limited because of difficulty in obtaining appropriate specimens. We used laser capture microdissection to obtain nine tissue regions from rats, including the nucleus of the solitary tract, hypoglossal motor nucleus, ventral respiratory column/pre-Bötzinger complex, and midline raphe nucleus from the brain stem, myocardium and coronary artery from the heart, and glomerulus, proximal convoluted tubule, and medullary thick ascending limb from the kidney. Each tissue region consists of or is enriched for a specific cell type. Differential patterns of miRNA expression obtained by deep sequencing of minute amounts of laser-captured cells were highly consistent with data obtained from real-time PCR analysis. miRNA expression patterns correctly clustered the specimens by tissue regions and then by primary tissue types (neural, muscular, or epithelial). The aggregate difference in miRNA profiles between tissue regions that contained the same primary tissue type was as large as one-half of the aggregate difference between primary tissue types. miRNAs differentially expressed between primary tissue types are more likely to be abundant miRNAs, while miRNAs differentially expressed between tissue regions containing the same primary tissue type were distributed evenly across the abundance spectrum. The tissue type-enriched miRNAs were more likely to target genes enriched for specific functional categories compared with either cell type-enriched miRNAs or randomly selected miRNAs. These data indicate that the role of miRNAs in determining characteristics of primary tissue types may be different than their role in regulating cell type-specific functions in solid organs.


brain; gene expression; kidney; microRNA; sequencing

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