, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 30-41
Date: 20 Sep 2013

MicroRNA-29a protects against acute liver injury in a mouse model of obstructive jaundice via inhibition of the extrinsic apoptosis pathway

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Recent studies have shown that microRNA-29 (miR-29) is significantly decreased in liver fibrosis, as demonstrated in human liver cirrhosis, and that its downregulation influences the activation of hepatic stellate cells. In addition, both cleaved caspase-3 production and apoptosis play a role in cholestatic liver injury. However, it is unknown if miR-29 is effective in modulating the extent of injury. We employed miR-29a transgenic mice (miR-29aTg mice) and wild-type (WT) littermates to clarify the role of miR-29 in hepatic injury and fibrogenesis, using the bile duct-ligation (BDL) mouse model. After BDL, all three members of the miR-29 family were significantly downregulated in the livers of WT mice, and miR-29b and miR-29c were significantly downregulated in the livers of the miR-29aTg mice. Liver function, as measured by alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase activity, was significantly improved in the miR-29aTg mice than in the WT littermates, following 1 week of obstructive jaundice. In addition, overexpression of miR-29a was associated with a significant downregulation of the expression of collagen-1α1, collagen-4α1, phospho-FADD, cleaved caspase-8, cleaved caspase-3, Bax, Bcl-2, PARP, and nuclear factor-κB, as well as an upregulation of phospho-AKT expression. In addition, there were significantly fewer TUNEL-positive liver cells in the miR-29aTg group than in the WT littermates after BDL. Our results indicate that miR-29a decreases cholestatic liver injury and fibrosis after BDL, at least partially, by modulating the extrinsic rather than intrinsic pathway of apoptosis.

Mao-Meng Tiao, Feng-Sheng Wang contributed equally to this work.