MicroRNA machinery responds to peripheral nerve lesion in an injury-regulated pattern

Neuroscience. 2011 Sep 8;190:386-97. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.06.017. Epub 2011 Jun 12.


Recently, functional and potent RNA interference (RNAi) has been reported in peripheral nerve axons transfected with short-interfering RNA (siRNA). In addition, components of RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) have been identified in axotomized sciatic nerve fibers as well as in regenerating dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons in vitro. Based on these observations, and on the fact that siRNA and microRNA (miRNA) share the same effector enzymes, we hypothesized that the endogenous miRNA biosynthetic pathway would respond to peripheral nerve injury. To answer this question, we investigated changes in the expression of miRNA biosynthetic enzymes following peripheral nerve crush injury in mice. Here, we show that several pivotal miRNA biosynthetic enzymes are expressed in an injury-regulated pattern in sciatic nerve in vivo, and in DRG axons in vitro. Moreover, the sciatic nerve lesion induced expression of mRNA-processing bodies (P-bodies), which are the local foci of mRNA degradation in DRG axons. In addition, a group of injury-regulated miRNAs was identified by miRNA microarray and validated by real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) and in situ hybridization analyses. Taken together, our data support the hypothesis that the peripheral nerve regeneration processes may be regulated by miRNA pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Nerve Crush
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries / genetics
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries / metabolism*
  • Sciatic Nerve / injuries*
  • Sciatic Nerve / physiology


  • MicroRNAs