Improved Differentiation Ability and Therapeutic Effect of miR-23a-3p Expressing Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Mice Model with Acute Lung Injury

Int J Stem Cells. 2021 May 30;14(2):229-239. doi: 10.15283/ijsc20136.

Abstract

Background and objectives: Implantation of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) has been recognized as an effective therapy for attenuating acute lung injury (ALI). This study aims to discover microRNA (miRNA)-mediated improvement of BMSCs-based therapeutic effects.

Methods and results: Mice were treated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) for induction of ALI. BMSCs with lentivirus- mediated expression of miR-23b-3p or fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) were intratracheally injected into the mice with ALI. The expressions of miR-23b-3p, FGF2, Occludin, and surfactant protein C (SPC) in lung tissues were analyzed by immunoblot or quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Histopathological changes in lung tissues were observed via hematoxylin-eosin staining. Lung edema was assessed by the ratio of lung wet weight/body weight (LWW/BW). The levels of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-4, and IL-8 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) were assessed by ELISA. LPS injection downregulated the expressions of miR-23b-3p, SPC and Occludin in the lung tissues, increased the LWW/BW ratio and aggravated histopathological abnormalities, while upregulating IL-1β, IL-6, IL-4, and IL-8 in the BALF. Upregulated miR-23b-3p counteracted LPS-induced effects, whereas downregulated miR-23b-3p intensified LPS-induced effects. FGF2, which was downregulated by miR-23b-3p upregulation, was a target gene of miR-23b-3p. Overexpressing FGF2 downregulated the expressions of miR-23b-3p, SPC and Occludin, increased the LWW/BW ratio and aggravated histopathological abnormalities, while upregulating IL-1β, IL-6, IL-4, and IL-8, and it offset miR-23b-3p upregulation-caused effects on the ALI mice.

Conclusions: Overexpression of miR-23b-3p in BMSCs strengthened BMSC-mediated protection against LPS-induced mouse acute lung injury via targeting FGF2.

Keywords: Acute lung injury; Fibroblast growth factor 2; Inflammatory responses; Lung injury repair; miR-23b-3p.