MicroRNA-124–Mediated Regulation of Inhibitory Member of Apoptosis-Stimulating Protein of p53 Family in Experimental Stroke

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Background and Purpose—

p53-mediated neuronal death is a central pathway of stroke pathophysiology, but its mechanistic details remain unclear. Here, we identified a novel microRNA mechanism that downregulation of inhibitory member of the apoptosis-stimulating proteins of p53 family (iASPP) by the brain-specific microRNA-124 (miR-124) promotes neuronal death after cerebral ischemia.


In a mouse model of focal permanent cerebral ischemia, the expression of iASPP and miR-124 was quantified by reverse transcription quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, immunofluorescence staining, and Western blot. Luciferase reporter assay was used to validate whether miR-124 can directly bind to the 3′-untranslated region of iASPP mRNA. To evaluate the role of miR-124, miR-124 mimic and its inhibitor were transfected into Neuro-2a cells and C57 mice.


There was no change in the iASPP mRNA level in cerebral ischemia. However, iASPP protein was remarkably decreased, with a concurrent elevation in miR-124 level. Furthermore, miR-124 can bind to the 3′-untranslated region of iASPP in 293T cells and downregulate its protein levels in Neuro-2a cells. In vivo, infusion of miR-124 decreased brain levels of iASPP, whereas inhibition of miR-124 enhanced iASPP levels and significantly reduced infarction in mouse focal cerebral ischemia.


These data demonstrate that p53-mediated neuronal cell death after stroke can be nontranscriptionally regulated by a novel mechanism involving suppression of endogenous cell death inhibitors by miR-124. Further dissection of microRNA regulatory mechanisms may lead to new therapeutic opportunities for preventing neuronal death after stroke.

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