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Aging Cell. 2017 Dec;16(6):1369-1380. doi: 10.1111/acel.12680. Epub 2017 Oct 2.

miR-155 induces ROS generation through downregulation of antioxidation-related genes in mesenchymal stem cells.

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Division of Cell Biology for Regenerative Medicine, Institute of Advanced Clinical Medicine, Kindai University Faculty of Medicine, Osaka, Japan.
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Kindai University Faculty of Medicine, Osaka, Japan.
Kindai University Life Science Research Institute, Osaka, Japan.


Inflammation-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) are implicated in cellular dysfunction and an important trigger for aging- or disease-related tissue degeneration. Inflammation-induced ROS in stem cells lead to deterioration of their properties, altering tissue renewal or regeneration. Pathological ROS generation can be induced by multiple steps, and dysfunction of antioxidant systems is a major cause. The identification of the central molecule mediating the above-mentioned processes would pave the way for the development of novel therapeutics for aging, aging-related diseases, or stem cell therapies. In recent years, microRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown to play important roles in many biological reactions, including inflammation and stem cell functions. In inflammatory conditions, certain miRNAs are highly expressed and mediate some cytotoxic actions. Here, we focused on miR-155, which is one of the most prominent miRNAs in inflammation and hypothesized that miR-155 participates to inflammation-induced ROS generation in stem cells. We observed mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from 1.5-year-old aged mice and determined that antioxidants, Nfe2l2, Sod1, and Hmox1, were suppressed, while miR-155-5p was highly expressed. Subsequent in vitro studies demonstrated that miR-155-5p induces ROS generation by suppression of the antioxidant genes by targeting the common transcription factor C/ebpβ. Moreover, this mechanism occurred during the cell transplantation process, in which ROS generation is triggering loss of transplanted stem cells. Finally, attenuation of antioxidants and ROS accumulation were partially prevented in miR-155 knockout MSCs. In conclusion, our study suggests that miR-155 is an important mediator connecting aging, inflammation, and ROS generation in stem cells.


aging; inflammation; mesenchymal stem cells; microRNA; stem cells; superoxide

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