PloS one

Activation of Mir-29a in Activated Hepatic Stellate Cells Modulates Its Profibrogenic Phenotype through Inhibition of Histone Deacetylases 4.

PMID 26305546


Recent studies have shown that microRNA-29 (miR-29) is significantly decreased in liver fibrosis and that its downregulation influences the activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). In addition, inhibition of the activity of histone deacetylases 4 (HDAC4) has been shown to strongly reduce HSC activation in the context of liver fibrosis. In this study, we examined whether miR-29a was involved in the regulation of HDAC4 and modulation of the profibrogenic phenotype in HSCs. We employed miR-29a transgenic mice (miR-29aTg mice) and wild-type littermates to clarify the role of miR-29a in cholestatic liver fibrosis, using the bile duct-ligation (BDL) mouse model. Primary HSCs from both mice were treated with a miR-29a mimic and antisense inhibitor in order to analyze changes in profibrogenic gene expression and HSC activation using real-time quantitative RT-PCR, immunofluorescence staining, western blotting, and cell proliferation and migration assays. After BDL, overexpression of miR-29a decreased collagen-1α1, HDAC4 and activated HSC markers of glial fibrillary acidic protein expression in miR-29aTg mice compared to wild-type littermates. Overexpression of miR-29a and HDAC4 RNA-interference decreased the expression of fibrotic genes, HDAC4 signaling, and HSC migration and proliferation. In contrast, knockdown of miR-29a with an antisense inhibitor increased HDAC4 function, restored HSC migration, and accelerated HSC proliferation. Our results indicate that miR-29a ameliorates cholestatic liver fibrosis after BDL, at least partially, by modulating the profibrogenic phenotype of HSCs through inhibition of HDAC4 function.