MicroRNA 219-5p inhibits alveolarization by reducing platelet derived growth factor receptor-alpha

Respir Res. 2021 Feb 17;22(1):57. doi: 10.1186/s12931-021-01654-7.


Background: MicroRNA (miR) are small conserved RNA that regulate gene expression post-transcription. Previous genome-wide analysis studies in preterm infants indicate that pathways of miR 219-5p are important in infants with Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD).

Methods: Here we report a prospective cohort study of extremely preterm neonates wherein infants diagnosed with severe BPD expressed increased airway miR-219-5p and decreased platelet derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFR-α), a target of mir-219-5p and a key regulator of alveolarization, compared to post-conception age-matched term infants.

Results: miR-219-5p was highly expressed in the pulmonary epithelial lining in lungs of infants with BPD by in situ hybridization of human infant lungs. In both in vitro and in vivo (mouse) models of BPD, miR-219-5p was increased on exposure to hyperoxia compared with the normoxia control, with a complementary decrease of PDGFR-α. To further confirm the target relationship between miR-219 and PDGFR-α, pulmonary epithelial cells (MLE12) and lung primary fibroblasts were treated with a mimic of miR-219-5p and a locked nucleic acid (LNA) based inhibitor of miR-219-5p. In comparison with the control group, the level of miR-219 increased significantly after miR-219 mimic treatment, while the level of PDGFR-α declined markedly. LNA exposure increased PDGFR-α. Moreover, in BPD mouse model, over-expression of miR-219-5p inhibited alveolar development, indicated by larger alveolar spaces accompanied by reduced septation.

Conclusions: Taken together, our results demonstrate that increased miR-219-5p contributes to the pathogenesis of BPD by targeting and reducing PDGFR-α. The use of specific miRNA antagonists may be a therapeutic strategy for preventing the development of BPD.

Keywords: Bronchopulmonary dysplasia; Infant; Lung development; microRNAs.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / metabolism*
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / pathology
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / therapy
  • Cohort Studies
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / methods
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / metabolism
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • MicroRNAs / biosynthesis*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / metabolism*
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / pathology
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha / biosynthesis*


  • MIRN219 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha