MicroRNA-96 Promotes Schistosomiasis Hepatic Fibrosis in Mice by Suppressing Smad7

Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2018 Oct 10:11:73-82. doi: 10.1016/j.omtm.2018.10.002. eCollection 2018 Dec 14.


Infection with Schistosoma causes aberrant expression of host microRNAs (miRNAs), and normalizing the levels of dysregulated miRNAs can attenuate pathology. Here, we show that the host miRNA, miR-96, is markedly upregulated during the progression of hepatic schistosomiasis. We demonstrate that elevation of miR-96 induces hepatic fibrosis in infected mice by suppressing the expression of its target gene, Smad7. We show that infection with Schistosoma induces the expression of transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1), which in turn upregulates the expression of miR-96 through SMAD2/3-DROSHA-mediated post-transcriptional regulation. Furthermore, inhibition of miR-96 with recombinant adeno-associated virus 8 (rAAV8)-mediated delivery of Tough Decoy RNAs in mice attenuated hepatic fibrosis and prevented lethality following schistosome infection. Taken together, our data highlight the potential for rAAV8-mediated inhibition of miR-96 as a therapeutic strategy to treat hepatic schistosomiasis.

Keywords: TGF-β/Smad7; hepatic stellate cell; microRNA; schistosomiasis.