Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are chronic airway inflammatory diseases that share some common features, although these diseases are somewhat different in etiologies, clinical features, and treatment policies. The aim of this study is to investigate the common microRNA-mediated changes in bronchial epithelial cells of asthma and COPD. The microRNA profiles in primary bronchial epithelial cells from asthma (AHBE) and COPD (CHBE) patients and healthy subjects (NHBE) were analyzed with next-generation sequencing (NGS) and the significant microRNA changes common in AHBE and CHBE were extracted. The upregulation of hsa-miR-10a-5p and hsa-miR-146a-5p in both AHBE and CHBE was confirmed with quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Using bioinformatic methods, we further identified putative targets of these microRNAs, which were downregulated in both AHBE and CHBE: miR-10a-5p might suppress BCL2, FGFR3, FOXO3, PDE4A, PDE4C, and PDE7A; miR-146a-5p might suppress BCL2, INSR, PDE4D, PDE7A, PDE7B, and PDE11A. We further validated significantly decreased expression levels of FOXO3 and PDE7A in AHBE and CHBE than in NHBE with qPCR. Increased serum miR-146a-5p level was also noted in patients with asthma and COPD as compared with normal control subjects. In summary, our study revealed possible mechanisms mediated by miR-10a-5p and miR-146a-5p in the pathogenesis of both asthma and COPD. The findings might provide a scientific basis for developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.
Keywords: COPD; asthma; bioinformatics; bronchial epithelial cells; epithelium; next-generation sequencing.