MicroRNA-181b (miR-181b) has been well noted with anti-inflammatory properties in several pathological conditions. It has also been suggested to be downregulated in patients with asthma. In this study, we explored the function of miR-181b in airway remodeling in asthmatic mice and the molecular mechanism. A mouse model with asthma was induced by ovalbumin (OVA) challenge, and miR-181b was found to be downregulated in lung tissues in the OVA-challenged mice. Overexpression of miR-181b was introduced in mice, after which the respiratory resistance, inflammatory infiltration, mucus production, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and fibrosis in mouse airway tissues were decreased. The integrated bioinformatics analysis suggested long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) TUG1 as a sponge for miR-181b. miR-181 directly targeted high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) mRNA. HMGB1 was suggested to enhance activation of the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) signaling. Further upregulation of lncRNA TUG1 blocked the protective functions of miR-181b in asthmatic mice. To conclude, this study evidenced that lncRNA TUG1 reinforces HMGB1 expression through sequestering microRNA-181b, which activates the NF-κB signaling pathway and promotes airway remodeling in asthmatic mice. This study may provide novel ideas in asthma management.
Keywords: Asthma; HMGB1; LncRNA TUG1; NF-κB signaling pathway; miR-181b.
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