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Cancer Biol Ther. 2019 Mar 12:1-15. doi: 10.1080/15384047.2019.1579960. [Epub ahead of print]

MicroRNA-23a depletion promotes apoptosis of ovarian cancer stem cell and inhibits cell migration by targeting DLG2.

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a Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology , The Second Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University , Harbin , P.R. China.


Ovarian cancer (OC) is xenogeneic that is influenced by many generated factors related to epigenetic factors to accelerate tumor metastasis. This study was conducted with the objective of investigating the effect of microRNA-23a-3p (miR-23a) on the biological characteristics of OC stem cells by targeting discs large homolog 2 (DLG2). OC-related differentially expressed genes were screened by microarray-based gene expression analysis, after which a list of miRNAs that regulate the genes was predicted. In total, 50 patients diagnosed with OC were enrolled in this study. DLG2 positive protein expression was measured in OC tissues. The interaction between DLG2 and miR-23a was predicted and analyzed through luciferase activity measurement. With the intervention of miR-23a and/or DLG2 expression in OC stem cells, the expression of miR-23a, DLG2, Bax, Bcl-2, Oct-4, and Nanog was determined. Afterward, different cell experiments were conducted to examine the regulation effect of miR-23a in OC stem cells. Tumor formation in vivo was also evaluated in nude mice. DLG2 had low expression in OC. The results showed that there was a decrease in the expression of Bcl-2, Oct-4, and Nanog, while DLG2 and Bax were increased as a result of miR-23a depletion. In addition, when miR-23a was suppressed, cell viability, migration, invasion, cloning, and renewal abilities of OC stem cells were decreased, while apoptosis ability was enhanced. As a target gene of miR-23a, DLG2 downregulation reversed the suppressive function of miR-23a in the inhibition of OC development. Finally, in vivo experiment verified that miR-23a downregulation restrained the tumor growth in OC stem cells. In conclusion, our findings suggested that the inhibition of miR-23a results in the suppression of OC progression by releasing DLG2, which provides new understanding on the potential therapeutic effect of miR-23a inhibition in OC patients.


MicroRNA-23a-3p; apoptosis; discs large homolog 2; ovarian cancer; tumor stem cells

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