Systematic Analysis of tRNA-Derived Small RNAs Reveals the Effects of Xuefu-Zhuyu Decoction on the Hippocampi of Rats after Traumatic Brain Injury

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2022 Sep 17;2022:5748719. doi: 10.1155/2022/5748719. eCollection 2022.

Abstract

Background: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most common neurosurgical diseases and refers to brain function impairment or brain pathological changes induced by external causes. A traditional Chinese medicine, Xuefu-Zhuyu Decoction (XFZYD), has been indicated to harbor therapeutic properties against TBI. Transfer RNA (tRNA)-derived small RNAs, that is, tsRNAs (a group of small RNAs derived from tRNAs), are multifunctional regulatory noncoding RNAs generated under pressure and implicated in the progression of TBI.

Methods: A TBI model was successfully constructed using rats. We further performed sequencing and omics analyses to identify novel tsRNAs as drug targets for XFZYD therapy against TBI in the rat hippocampus. qPCR assays were used to further verify the experimental results. Gene Ontology (GO) was used to analyze the signaling pathways of downstream target genes of tsRNAs in the XFZYD-regulated TBI model. qPCR was used to detect the influence of overexpressed tsRNA mimics/inhibitors on their target genes in PC12 cells.

Results: Our RNA-Seq data illustrate that 11 tsRNAs were mediated by XFZYD. The experimental data revealed AS-tDR-002004 and AS-tDR-002583 as potential targets for XFZYD therapy and showed that they influenced TBI via the cadherin signaling pathway, cocaine addiction, circadian entrainment, and the nicotine pharmacodynamics pathway. We also confirmed that Pi4kb, Mlh3, Pcdh9, and Ppp1cb were target genes of 2 XFZYD-regulated tsRNAs in the hippocampus of a rat model and PC12 cells. Furthermore, biological function analysis revealed the potential therapeutic effects of tsRNAs, and the results showed that Mapk1 and Gnai1 were related genes for XFZYD therapy against TBI.

Conclusion: Our work successfully illuminates the efficiency of XFZYD in the treatment of TBI. The experimental data revealed AS-tDR-002004 and AS-tDR-002583 as potential targets for XFZYD therapy and showed that they influenced TBI via the cadherin signaling pathway, cocaine addiction, circadian entrainment, and the nicotine pharmacodynamics pathway in a TBI rat model.