MicroRNA profiling reveals a role for MicroRNA-218-5p in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Publication Type:
Journal Article
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2017, 195 (1), pp. 43 - 56
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Rationale: Aberrant expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) can have a detrimental role in disease pathogenesis. Objectives: To identify dysregulated miRNAs in lung tissue of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Methods: We performed miRNA and mRNA profiling using high throughput stem-loop reverse-transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction and mRNA microarray, respectively, on lung tissue of 30 patients (screening cohort) encompassing 8 never-smokers, 10 smokers without airflow limitation, and 12 smokers with COPD. Differential expression of miRNA-218-5p (miR-218-5p) was validated by reverse-transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction in an independent cohort of 71 patients, an in vivo murine model of COPD, and primary human bronchial epithelial cells. Localization of miR-218-5p was assessed by in situ hybridization. In vitro and in vivo perturbation of miR-218-5p combined with RNA sequencing and gene set enrichment analysis was used to elucidate its functional role in COPD pathogenesis. Measurements and Main Results: Several miRNAs were differentially expressed among the different patient groups. Interestingly, miR-218-5p was significantly down-regulated in smokers without airflow limitation and in patients with COPD compared with never-smokers. Decreased pulmonary expression of miR-218-5p was validated in an independent validation cohort, in cigarette smoke-exposed mice, and in human bronchial epithelial cells. Importantly, expression of miR-218-5p strongly correlated with airway obstruction. Furthermore, cellular localization of miR-218-5p in human and murine lung revealed highest expression of miR-218-5p in the bronchial airway epithelium. Perturbation experiments with a miR-218-5p mimic or inhibitor demonstrated a protective role of miR-218-5p in cigarette smoke-induced inflammation and COPD. Conclusions: We highlight a role for miR-218-5p in the pathogenesis of COPD.
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