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• What is the central question of this study? Does miR-124 affect cell proliferation and apoptosis in acute liver failure (ALF) mice? • What is the main finding and its importance? Inhibiting miR-124 targets PIM-3 and thus upregulates its expression, consequently inhibiting liver cell apoptosis and promoting cell proliferation, ultimately preventing the progression of ALF. This highlights a promising competitive new target for ALF treatment. Acute liver failure (ALF) is a complicated syndrome frequently leading to dysfunction and failure of various organs. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have played crucial roles in the development and progression of human diseases, including ALF. However, the potential role of miR-124 in ALF still remains elusive. Thus, we investigated the underlying mechanism by which miR-124 influences ALF in a mouse model of ALF. Initially, ALF mouse models were established using d-galactosamine and lipopolysaccharide. Then we detected the serum biochemical parameters of liver, and pathological characteristics and ultrastructure of liver tissues. Next, we determined miR-124 and PIM-3 expression in liver tissues and cells using RT-qPCR and western blot analysis. The interaction between miR-124 and PIM-3 was identified using the dual luciferase reporter gene assay. Subsequently, expression of miR-124 and PIM-3 in liver cells was altered to explore their effects on primary liver cell proliferation, the cell cycle and apoptosis. The results obtained showed that ALF mice exhibited a decreased cholinesterase level with increased levels of alanine aminotransferase, aspartate transaminase and total bilirubin as well as abundant liver cell apoptosis and necrosis. miR-124 was upregulated while PIM-3 was downregulated in ALF tissues and cells. Besides, the PIM-3 gene was a target of miR-124 and was inhibited by miR-124. Overexpression of miR-124 or silencing of PIM-3 reduced Bcl-2 expression but elevated tumour necrosis factor α expression, and resulted in a reduction in liver cell proliferation but an increase in cell apoptosis in ALF mice. Altogether, miR-124 functions as a disease-promoting miRNA with potential in stimulating ALF by targeting PIM-3. © 2019 The Authors. Experimental Physiology © 2019 The Physiological Society.


Tao Zan, Li Piao, Xueqin Yang, Yue Gu, Baohua Liu. Downregulation of microRNA-124 prevents the development of acute liver failure through the upregulation of PIM-3. Experimental physiology. 2020 Jan;105(1):108-119

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PMID: 31628693

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