Background: An important mechanism for gene regulation utilizes small non-coding RNAs called microRNAs (miRNAs). These small RNAs play important roles in tissue development, cell differentiation and proliferation, lipid and fat metabolism, stem cells, exocytosis, diseases and cancers. To date, relatively little is known about functions of miRNAs in the lung except lung cancer.
Results: In this study, we utilized a rat miRNA microarray containing 216 miRNA probes, printed in-house, to detect the expression of miRNAs in the rat lung compared to the rat heart, brain, liver, kidney and spleen. Statistical analysis using Significant Analysis of Microarray (SAM) and Tukey Honestly Significant Difference (HSD) revealed 2 miRNAs (miR-195 and miR-200c) expressed specifically in the lung and 9 miRNAs co-expressed in the lung and another organ. 12 selected miRNAs were verified by Northern blot analysis.
Conclusion: The identified lung-specific miRNAs from this work will facilitate functional studies of miRNAs during normal physiological and pathophysiological processes of the lung.