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J Cell Mol Med. 2019 May 8. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.14357. [Epub ahead of print]

Network and pathway-based analysis of microRNA role in neuropathic pain in rat models.

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Department of Sport Rehabilitation, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, China.
The Fifth Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, Henan, China.
School of Medical Technology, Xuzhou Medical University, Xuzhou, Jiangsu, China.


The molecular mechanisms underlying neuropathic pain (NP) remain poorly understood. Emerging evidence has suggested the role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in the initiation and development of NP, but the specific effects of miRNAs in NP are largely unknown. Here, we use network- and pathway-based methods to investigate NP-induced miRNA changes and their biological functions by conducting a systematic search through multiple electronic databases. Thirty-seven articles meet the inclusion criteria. Venn analysis and target gene forecasting are performed and the results indicate that 167 overlapping target genes are co-regulated by five down-regulated miRNAs (rno-miR-183, rno-miR-96, rno-miR-30b, rno-miR-150 and rno-miR-206). Protein-protein interaction network analysis shows that 77 genes exhibit interactions, with cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit beta (degree = 11) and cAMP-response element binding protein 1 (degree = 10) having the highest connectivity degree. Gene ontology analysis shows that these target genes are enriched in neuron part, neuron projection, somatodendritic compartment and nervous system development. Moreover, analysis of Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes reveals that three pathways, namely, axon guidance, circadian entrainment and insulin secretion, are significantly enriched. In addition, rno-miR-183, rno-miR-96, rno-miR-30b, rno-miR-150 and rno-miR-206 are consistently down-regulated in the NP models, thus constituting the potential biomarkers of this disease. Characterizing these miRNAs and their target genes paves way for their future use in clinical practice.


biomarker; functional enrichment analysis; miRNA; network analysis; neuropathic pain

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