miR-125b inhibits goblet cell differentiation in allergic airway inflammation by targeting SPDEF

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Abstract

Asthma is a disease characterized by goblet cell differentiation, mucus hypersecretion, airway inflammation, and airway hyperresponsiveness. miR-125b was downregulated as normal human bronchial epithelial cells differentiation to pseudostratified epithelium. However, its role in asthma remains unknown especially in regulating goblet cell differentiation. miR-125b expression in the sputum of 50 asthmatic children and 50 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were assessed by quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR). Meanwhile, expressions of miR-125b and SAM pointed domain-containing ETS transcription factor (SPDEF) in normal human tracheal epithelial (HTEpC) and A549 cells stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) for 2 h were detected by qRT-PCR and western blot. Furthermore, the predicted miR-125b target was determined in silico and confirmed with dual-luciferase reporter assay. Additionally, intranasal delivery of miR-125b mimic in mice was performed to study its effects on house dust mite-induced allergic airway inflammation mouse models. We found that miR-125b expression was decreased in the sputum of the asthmatic patients especially in eosinophilic asthma. After stimulation with LPS, miR-125b expression was downregulated, accompanied by the upregulation of SPDEF in HTEpC and A549 cells. Moreover, SPDEF is a target of miR-125b, which regulates SPDEF at the posttranscriptional level. Additionally, intranasal delivery of miR-125b decreased SPDEF protein levels, goblet cell differentiation, mucus hypersecretion, and altered relevant gene expressions. Taken together, these results suggest that miR-125b inhibits SPDEF expression modulating goblet cell differentiation and mucus secretion in asthma.

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