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RNA. 2018 Jun;24(6):865-879. doi: 10.1261/rna.063206.117. Epub 2018 Mar 14.

Transmission of microRNA antimiRs to mouse offspring via the maternal-placental-fetal unit.

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Department of Lung Development and Remodelling, Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, 61231 Bad Nauheim, Germany.
Department of Internal Medicine (Pulmonology), University of Giessen and Marburg Lung Center (UGMLC), member of the German Center for Lung Research (DZL), 35392 Giessen, Germany.
ECCPS Bioinformatics and Deep Sequencing Platform, Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, 35392 Giessen, Germany.
Department of Lung Development and Remodelling, Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, 61231 Bad Nauheim, Germany


The emergence of microRNA as regulators of organogenesis and tissue differentiation has stimulated interest in the ablation of microRNA expression and function during discrete periods of development. To this end, inducible, conditional modulation of microRNA expression with doxycycline-based tetracycline-controlled transactivator and tamoxifen-based estrogen receptor systems has found widespread use. However, the induction agents and components of genome recombination systems negatively impact pregnancy, parturition, and postnatal development; thereby limiting the use of these technologies between late gestation and the early postnatal period. MicroRNA inhibitor (antimiR) administration also represents a means of neutralizing microRNA function in vitro and in vivo. To date, these studies have used direct (parenteral) administration of antimiRs to experimental animals. As an extension of this approach, an alternative means of regulating microRNA expression and function is described here: the maternal-placental-fetal transmission of antimiRs. When administered to pregnant dams, antimiRs were detected in offspring and resulted in a pronounced and persistent reduction in detectable steady-state free microRNA levels in the heart, kidney, liver, lungs, and brain. This effect was comparable to direct injection of newborn mouse pups with antimiRs, although maternal delivery resulted in fewer off-target effects. Furthermore, depletion of steady-state microRNA levels via the maternal route resulted in concomitant increases in steady-state levels of selected microRNA targets. This novel methodology permits the temporal regulation of microRNA function during late gestation and in neonates, without recourse to conventional approaches that rely on doxycycline and tamoxifen, which may confound studies on developmental processes.


antimiR; development; maternal transmission; microRNA; organogenesis

[Available on 2019-06-01]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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