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, 2015, 204367

MicroRNA Profiling Response to Acupuncture Therapy in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats


MicroRNA Profiling Response to Acupuncture Therapy in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats

Jia-You Wang et al. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a group of endogenous noncoding RNAs that play important roles in many biological processes. This study aimed to check if miRNAs were involved in the response to acupuncture in rats. Microarray analysis was performed to compare the miRNA expression profiles of medulla in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs) treated with or without acupuncture. Our microarray analysis identified 222 differentially expressed miRNAs in the medulla of SHRs treated with acupuncture at taichong acupoint. Among these miRNAs, 23 miRNAs with a significant difference were found in acupuncture-treated SHRs compared to untreated rats. These 23 miRNAs could regulate 2963 target genes which were enriched in at least 14 pathways based on our bioinformatic analysis. miRNA-339, miR-223, and miR-145 were downregulated in the medulla of SHRs compared to normotensive rats. Notably, these miRNAs were upregulated to basal levels in the medulla of SHRs treated with acupuncture at taichong in comparison with SHRs receiving acupuncture at nonacupoint group or SHRs without any treatment. Our findings have revealed significant changes of a panel of selective miRNAs in hypertensive rats treated at taichong acupoint. These data provide insights into how acupuncture elicits beneficial effects on hypertension.


Figure 1
Figure 1
The acupuncture procedure at taichong point and nonacupoint in SHRs. In taichong group of the SHRs, acupuncture was performed at bilateral LR3 located between the 1st and the 2nd metatarsal of dorsal foot, while, in nonacupoint group, acupuncture was done at bilateral nonacupoint located at fossa between the 3rd and 4th metatarsal of dorsal foot.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Confirmation of miR-339 (a), miR-223 (b), and miR-145 (c) expression changes in the medulla of SHRs treated with acupuncture at taichong point (model + acu.). The expression level of miR-339, miR-223, and miR-145 in rats was detected using qRT-PCR. The relative expression of these miRNAs was calculated in relation to levels of U6 RNA using the 2−ΔΔCt method. The result was repeated in triplicate independent experiments. * P < 0.05; ** P < 0.001.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Acupuncture treatment at taichong acupoint elicits specific miRNA expression changes in SHRs. Acupuncture at taichong point (Taichong) significantly increased miR-339 (a), miR-223 (b), and miR-145 (c) expression levels in the medullas of SHRs compared to SHRs with nonacupoint treatment (non-acu.). * P < 0.05; ** P < 0.001, *** P < 0.001.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Proposed role of miRNAs in the antihypertensive effects of acupuncture.

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