Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is the most common and fatal form of idiopathic interstitial pneumonia. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), short, single-stranded RNAs that regulate protein expression in a post-transcriptional manner, have recently been demonstrated to contribute to IPF pathogenesis. We have previously identified WNT1-inducible signaling pathway protein 1 (WISP1) as a highly expressed pro-fibrotic mediator in IPF, but the underlying mechanisms resulting in increased WISP1 expression, remain elusive. Here, we investigated whether WISP1 is a target of miRNA regulation. We applied a novel supervised machine learning approach, which predicted miR-30a/d and miR-92a target sites in regions of the human WISP1 3'UTR preferentially bound by the miRNA ribonucleoprotein complex. Both miRNAs were decreased in IPF samples, whereas WISP1 protein was increased. We demonstrated further that transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1-induced WISP1 expression in primary lung fibroblasts in vitro and lung homogenates in vivo. Notably, miR-30a and miR-92a reversed TGF-β1-induced WISP1 mRNA expression in lung fibroblasts. Moreover, miR-92a inhibition increased WISP1 protein expression in lung fibroblasts. An inverse relationship for WISP1 and miR-92a was found in a TGF-β1 dependent lung fibrosis model in vivo. Finally, we found significantly increased WISP1 expression in primary IPF fibroblasts, which negatively correlated with miR-92a level ex vivo. Altogether, our findings indicate a regulatory role of miR-92a for WISP1 expression in pulmonary fibrosis.
Keywords: CCN4; Pulmonary fibrosis; WISP1; miR-30; miR-92a.
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