Inducible deletion of microRNA activity in kidney mesenchymal cells exacerbates renal fibrosis

Sci Rep. 2024 May 14;14(1):10963. doi: 10.1038/s41598-024-61560-y.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are sequence-specific inhibitors of post-transcriptional gene expression. However, the physiological functions of these non-coding RNAs in renal interstitial mesenchymal cells remain unclear. To conclusively evaluate the role of miRNAs, we generated conditional knockout (cKO) mice with platelet-derived growth factor receptor-β (PDGFR-β)-specific inactivation of the key miRNA pathway gene Dicer. The cKO mice were subjected to unilateral ureteral ligation, and renal interstitial fibrosis was quantitatively evaluated using real-time polymerase chain reaction and immunofluorescence staining. Compared with control mice, cKO mice had exacerbated interstitial fibrosis exhibited by immunofluorescence staining and mRNA expression of PDGFR-β. A microarray analysis showed decreased expressions of miR-9-5p, miR-344g-3p, and miR-7074-3p in cKO mice compared with those in control mice, suggesting an association with the increased expression of PDGFR-β. An analysis of the signaling pathways showed that the major transcriptional changes in cKO mice were related to smooth muscle cell differentiation, regulation of DNA metabolic processes and the actin cytoskeleton, positive regulation of fibroblast proliferation and Ras protein signal transduction, and focal adhesion-PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathways. Depletion of Dicer in mesenchymal cells may downregulate the signaling pathway related to miR-9-5p, miR-344g-3p, and miR-7074-3p, which can lead to the progression of chronic kidney disease. These findings highlight the possibility for future diagnostic or therapeutic developments for renal fibrosis using miR-9-5p, miR-344g-3p, and miR-7074-3p.

Keywords: Dicer; Renal fibrosis; miR-9-5p; miRNAs.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / genetics
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / metabolism
  • Fibrosis*
  • Kidney Diseases / genetics
  • Kidney Diseases / metabolism
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology
  • Kidney* / metabolism
  • Kidney* / pathology
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells* / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout*
  • MicroRNAs* / genetics
  • MicroRNAs* / metabolism
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor beta* / genetics
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor beta* / metabolism
  • Ribonuclease III* / genetics
  • Ribonuclease III* / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction