Integrative analysis of hepatic microRNA and mRNA to identify potential biological pathways associated with monocrotaline-induced liver injury in mice

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Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) are a type of natural hepatotoxic compounds. Monocrotaline (MCT), belongs to PAs, is a main compound distributed in medicinal herb Crotalaria ferruginea Grah. ex Benth. This study aims to identify the potential biological signaling pathway associated with MCT-induced liver injury by analyzing the integrative altered hepatic microRNA (miRNA) and mRNA expression profile. C57BL/6 mice were orally given with MCT (270, 330 mg/kg). Serum alanine/aspartate aminotransferase (ALT/AST) activity, total bilirubin (TBil) amount and liver histological evaluation showed the liver injury induced by MCT. Results of miRNA chip analysis showed that the hepatic expression of 15 miRNAs (whose signal intensity > 200) was significantly altered in MCT-treated mice, and among them total 11 miRNAs passed further validation by using Real-time PCR assay. Results of mRNA chip analysis demonstrated that the hepatic expression of 569 genes was up-regulated and of other 417 genes was down-regulated in MCT-treated mice. There are total 426 predicted target genes of those above altered 11 miRNAs, and among them total 10 genes were also altered in mice treated with both MCT (270 mg/kg) and MCT (330 mg/kg) from the results of mRNA chip. Among these above 10 genes, total 8 genes passed further validation by using Real-time PCR assay. Only 1 biological signaling pathway was annotated by using those above 8 genes, which is phagosome. In conclusion, this study demonstrated the integrative altered expression profile of liver miRNA and mRNA, and identified that innate immunity may be critically involved in MCT-induced liver injury in mice.HighlightsPA MCT induced liver injury in mice.The hepatic expression of 11 miRNAs was significantly altered in MCT-treated mice.Total 8 genes were found by integrative analysis of the altered miRNA and mRNA.Phagosome was annotated by using those significantly altered 8 genes.Phagocytosis and the innate immunity may be involved in MCT-induced hepatotoxicity.

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