PloS one

Decreased miR-26a expression correlates with the progression of podocyte injury in autoimmune glomerulonephritis.

PMID 25329154


MicroRNAs contribute to the pathogenesis of certain diseases and may serve as biomarkers. We analyzed glomerular microRNA expression in B6.MRLc1, which serve as a mouse model of autoimmune glomerulonephritis. We found that miR-26a was the most abundantly expressed microRNA in the glomerulus of normal C57BL/6 and that its glomerular expression in B6.MRLc1 was significantly lower than that in C57BL/6. In mouse kidneys, podocytes mainly expressed miR-26a, and glomerular miR-26a expression in B6.MRLc1 mice correlated negatively with the urinary albumin levels and podocyte-specific gene expression. Puromycin-induced injury of immortalized mouse podocytes decreased miR-26a expression, perturbed the actin cytoskeleton, and increased the release of exosomes containing miR-26a. Although miR-26a expression increased with differentiation of immortalized mouse podocytes, silencing miR-26a decreased the expression of genes associated with the podocyte differentiation and formation of the cytoskeleton. In particular, the levels of vimentin and actin significantly decreased. In patients with lupus nephritis and IgA nephropathy, glomerular miR-26a levels were significantly lower than those of healthy controls. In B6.MRLc1 and patients with lupus nephritis, miR-26a levels in urinary exosomes were significantly higher compared with those for the respective healthy control. These data indicate that miR-26a regulates podocyte differentiation and cytoskeletal integrity, and its altered levels in glomerulus and urine may serve as a marker of injured podocytes in autoimmune glomerulonephritis.