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PLoS One. 2019 Jul 15;14(7):e0218574. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0218574. eCollection 2019.

Co-expression analysis reveals dysregulated miRNAs and miRNA-mRNA interactions in the development of contrast-induced acute kidney injury.

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Department of Cardiology, 900 Hospital of the Joint Logistics Team, Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou, China.
Faculty of Graduate Studies, Bengbu Medical College, Bengbu, China.
Department of Cadre Health Care, 900 Hospital of the Joint Logistics Team, Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou, China.


The pathogenesis of contrast-induced acute kidney injury (CI-AKI) is incompletely understood. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important mediators that normally function via post-transcriptional degradation of target mRNAs. Emerging evidence indicates the appearance of differentially expressed (DE) miRNAs in CI-AKI following the injection of intravenous contrast medium. However, there are differences in the pathological mechanism and incidence of CI-AKI between intravenous and intra-arterial contrast administration. The present study aimed to investigate the critical roles of dysregulated miRNAs and their associated mRNAs in kidney injury following intra-arterial contrast medium exposure. Based on a reliable CI-AKI rat model, we conducted genome-wide miRNA and mRNA expression profiling analysis using deep sequencing. In the study, 36 DE mature miRNAs were identified (fold change > 1.5 and p value < 0.05) in the kidneys of CI-AKI rats (n = 3) compared with that in the controls (n = 3), consisting of 23 up-regulated and 13 down-regulated DE miRNAs. Bioinformatic analysis revealed that wingnut (Wnt), transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β), and 5'-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling pathways were most likely to be modulated by these dysregulated miRNAs. Around 453 dysregulated genes (fold change > 2.0 and p value < 0.05) were identified. Integrated analysis revealed 2037 putative miRNA-mRNA pairs with negative correlations. Among them, 6 DE miRNAs and 13 genes were selected for further quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction validation (n = 6 for each group), and a good correspondence between the two techniques was observed. In conclusion, the present study provided evidence of miRNA-mRNA interactions in the development of kidney injury following an intra-arterial contrast injection. These findings provide insights into the underlying mechanisms of CI-AKI.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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