Background: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a novel class of short double stranded RNA that mediate the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. Previous studies have implicated changes in miRNA expression in the regulation of development and the induction of diseases such as cancer. However, although miRNAs have been implicated in the process of aging in C. elegans, nothing is known of their role in mammalian tissues.
Results: To address this question, we have used a highly-sensitive, semi-quantitative RT-PCR based approach to measure the expression profile of 256 of the 493 currently identified miRNAs in the lungs from 6 month (adult) and 18 month (aged) old female BALB/c mice. We show that, despite the characteristic changes in anatomy and gene expression associated with lung aging, there were no significant changes in the expression of 256 miRNAs.
Conclusion: Overall, these results show that miRNA transcription is unchanged during lung aging and suggests that stable expression of miRNAs might instead buffer age related changes in the expression of protein-encoding genes.