Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is one of the most common and devastating gastrointestinal diseases in preterm newborns, and its underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) play critical roles in intestinal diseases; however, little is known about their roles in the development of NEC. To gain a deeper understanding of the pathophysiological mechanism of NEC, long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), microRNAs (miRNAs) and mRNAs were detected in an NEC rat model. In total, 1820 lncRNAs, 118 miRNAs and 929 mRNAs were differentially expressed in NEC group. Gene ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis indicated that these molecules were enriched in apoptosis, autophagic cell death, TLR4 signaling pathway, Notch signaling pathway, and mTOR signaling pathway. These pathways are thought to be closely associated with NEC. Furthermore, a lncRNA-miRNA interaction network was constructed, and four of the novel, differentially expressed lncRNAs with large changes were randomly verified using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). The GO and KEGG pathway analysis of these four lncRNAs showed that they were associated with the negative regulation of TLR4 signaling pathway and Notch signaling pathway. In conclusion, our study revealed that these differentially expressed lncRNAs may participate in the development of NEC via interactions with miRNAs and may serve as possible biomarkers and target genes in NEC.
Keywords: LncRNA-miRNA interaction network; Long non-coding RNA; MicroRNA; Necrotizing enterocolitis.
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