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Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a progressive disorder of unknown etiology, is characterized by pathological lung fibroblast activation and proliferation resulting in abnormal deposition of extracellular matrix proteins within the lung parenchyma. The pathophysiological roles of exosomal microRNAs in pulmonary fibrosis remain unclear; therefore, we aimed to identify and characterize fibrosis-responsive exosomal microRNAs. We used microRNA array analysis and profiled the expression of exosome-derived miRNA in sera of C57BL/6 mice exhibiting bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis. The effect of microRNAs potentially involved in fibrosis was then evaluated in vivo and in vitro. The expression of exosomal microRNA-16 was increased by up to 8.0-fold on day 14 in bleomycin-treated mice, compared to vehicle-treated mice. MicroRNA-16 mimic administration on day 14 after bleomycin challenge ameliorated pulmonary fibrosis and suppressed lung and serum expression of secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC). Pretreatment of human lung fibroblasts with the microRNA-16 mimic decreased the expression of rapamycin-insensitive companion of mTOR (Rictor) and TGF-β1-induced expression of SPARC. This is the first study reporting the anti-fibrotic properties of microRNA-16 and demonstrating that these effects occur via the mTORC2 pathway. These findings support that microRNA-16 may be a promising therapeutic target for IPF. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Minoru Inomata, Koichiro Kamio, Arata Azuma, Kuniko Matsuda, Jiro Usuki, Akemi Morinaga, Toru Tanaka, Takeru Kashiwada, Kenichiro Atsumi, Hiroki Hayashi, Kazue Fujita, Yoshinobu Saito, Kaoru Kubota, Masahiro Seike, Akihiko Gemma. Rictor-targeting exosomal microRNA-16 ameliorates lung fibrosis by inhibiting the mTORC2-SPARC axis. Experimental cell research. 2021 Jan 15;398(2):112416

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PMID: 33307020

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