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    Activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) could potently protect osteoblasts/osteoblastic cells from dexamethasone (Dex). We aim to induce AMPK activation via microRNA ("miRNA") downregulation of its phosphatase Ppm1e. We discovered that microRNA-135b ("miR-135b") targets the 3' untranslated regions (UTRs) of Ppm1e. In human osteoblasticOB-6 cells and hFOB1.19 cells, forced-expression of miR-135b downregulated Ppm1e and activated AMPK signaling. miR-135b also protected osteoblastic cells from Dex. shRNA-induced knockdown of Ppm1e similarly activated AMPK and inhibited Dex-induced damages. Intriguingly, in the Ppm1e-silenced osteoblastic cells, miR-135b expression failed to offer further cytoprotection against Dex. Notably, AMPK knockdown (via shRNA) or dominant negative mutation abolished miR-135b-induced AMPK activation and cytoprotection against Dex. Molecularly, miR-135b, via activating AMPK, increased nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) activity and inhibited Dex-induced oxidative stress. At last, we found that miR-135b level was increased in human necrotic femoral head tissues, which was correlated with Ppm1e downregulation and AMPK activation. There results suggest that miR-135b expression downregulates Ppm1e to activate AMPK signaling, which protects osteoblastic cells from Dex.


    Jian-Bo Fan, Jian-Wei Ruan, Wei Liu, Lun-Qing Zhu, Xin-Hui Zhu, Hong Yi, Sheng-Yu Cui, Jian-Ning Zhao, Zhi-Ming Cui. miR-135b expression downregulates Ppm1e to activate AMPK signaling and protect osteoblastic cells from dexamethasone. Oncotarget. 2016 Oct 25;7(43):70613-70622

    PMID: 27661114

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