JOURNAL ARTICLE

Opposing roles of miR-21 and miR-29 in the progression of fibrosis in Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Simona Zanotti, Sara Gibertini, Maurizio Curcio, Paolo Savadori, Barbara Pasanisi, Lucia Morandi, Ferdinando Cornelio, Renato Mantegazza, Marina Mora
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 2015, 1852 (7): 1451-64
25892183
Excessive extracellular matrix deposition progressively replacing muscle fibres is the endpoint of most severe muscle diseases. Recent data indicate major involvement of microRNAs in regulating pro- and anti-fibrotic genes. To investigate the roles of miR-21 and miR-29 in muscle fibrosis in Duchenne muscle dystrophy, we evaluated their expression in muscle biopsies from 14 patients, and in muscle-derived fibroblasts and myoblasts. In Duchenne muscle biopsies, miR-21 expression was significantly increased, and correlated directly with COL1A1 and COL6A1 transcript levels. MiR-21 expression was also significantly increased in Duchenne fibroblasts, more so after TGF-β1 treatment. In Duchenne fibroblasts the expression of miR-21 target transcripts PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10) and SPRY-1 (Sprouty homolog 1) was significantly reduced; while collagen I and VI transcript levels and soluble collagen production were significantly increased. MiR-29a and miR-29c were significantly reduced in Duchenne muscle and myoblasts, and miR-29 target transcripts, COL3A1, FBN1 and YY1, significantly increased. MiR-21 silencing in mdx mice reduced fibrosis in the diaphragm muscle and in both Duchenne fibroblasts and mdx mice restored PTEN and SPRY-1 expression, and significantly reduced collagen I and VI expression; while miR-29 mimicking in Duchenne myoblasts significantly decreased miR-29 target transcripts. These findings indicate that miR-21 and miR-29 play opposing roles in Duchenne muscle fibrosis and suggest that pharmacological modulation of their expression has therapeutic potential for reducing fibrosis in this condition.

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