Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy

Therapeutic miR-21 Silencing Ameliorates Diabetic Kidney Disease in Mice.

PMID 28129112


Diabetic nephropathy is the main cause of end-stage renal disease. MicroRNAs are powerful regulators of the genome, and global expression profiling revealed miR-21 to be among the most highly regulated microRNAs in kidneys of mice with diabetic nephropathy. In kidney biopsies of diabetic patients, miR-21 correlated with tubulointerstitial injury. In situ PCR analysis showed a specific enrichment of miR-21 in glomerular cells. We identified cell division cycle 25a (Cdc25a) and cyclin-dependent kinase 6 (Cdk6) as novel miR-21 targets in mesangial cells. miR-21-mediated repression of Cdc25a and Cdk6 resulted in impaired cell cycle progression and subsequent mesangial cell hypertrophy. miR-21 increased podocyte motility by regulating phosphatase and tensin homolog (Pten). miR-21 antagonism in vitro and in vivo in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice decreased mesangial expansion, interstitial fibrosis, macrophage infiltration, podocyte loss, albuminuria, and fibrotic- and inflammatory gene expression. In conclusion, miR-21 antagonism rescued various functional and structural parameters in mice with diabetic nephropathy and, thus, might be a viable option in the treatment of patients with diabetic kidney disease.