Our previous report determined that miR-144 is a key regulator of intestinal epithelial permeability in irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D) rats. Recent evidence has shown that lactobacilli play an important role in the relief of IBS-D symptoms. However, few studies have addressed the mechanisms by which microRNAs and lactobacilli exert their beneficial effects on intestinal epithelial permeability. Hence, to elucidate whether miRNAs and lactobacilli play roles in intestinal epithelial barrier regulation, we compared miRNA expression levels in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) under Lactobacillus casei (L. casei LC01) treatment. IECs and L. casei LC01 were co-cultured and then subjected to microRNA microarray assay. qRT-PCR, western blot and ELISA were used to detect the expression of occludin (OCLN) and zonula occludens 1 (ZO1/TJP1). The interaction between miRNAs and L. casei LC01 acting in IECs was investigated through transfection of RNA oligoribonucleotides and pcDNA 3.1 plasmid. The results are as follows: 1) L. casei LC01 decreased the expression of miR-144 and FD4 and promoted OCLN and ZO1 expression in IECs; 2) L. casei LC01 enhanced the barrier function of IECs via downregulation of miR-144 and upregulation of OCLN and ZO1; 3) Under L. casei LC01 treatment, OCLN and ZO1 overexpression could partially eliminate the promoting effect of miR-144 on intestinal permeability in IECs. Our results demonstrate that L. casei LC01 regulates intestinal permeability of IECs through miR-144 targeting of OCLN and ZO1. L. casei LC01 can be a possible therapeutic target for managing dysfunction of the intestinal epithelial barrier.
Keywords: intestinal epithelial permeability; lactobacilli; miR-144; occludin (OCLN); zonula occludens 1 (ZO1/TJP1).