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Open Access Antisense miR-7 Impairs Insulin Expression in Developing Pancreas and in Cultured Pancreatic Buds

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Abstract:

MicroRNAs regulate gene expression by inhibiting translation or inducing target mRNA degradation. MicroRNAs regulate organ differentiation and embryonic development, including pancreatic specification and islet function. We showed previously that miR-7 is highly expressed in human pancreatic fetal and adult endocrine cells. Here we determined the expression profile of miR-7 in the mouse-developing pancreas by RT-PCR and in situ hybridization. MiR-7 expression was low between embryonic days e10.5 and e11.5, then began to increase at e13.5 through e14.5, and eventually decreased by e18. In situ hybridization and immunostaining analysis showed that miR-7 colocalizes with endocrine marker Isl1, suggesting that miR-7 is expressed preferentially in endocrine cells. Whole-mount in situ hybridization shows miR-7 highly expressed in the embryonic neural tube. To investigate the role of miR-7 in development of the mouse endocrine pancreas, antisense miR-7 morpholinos (MO) were delivered to the embryo at an early developmental stage (e10.5 days) via intrauterine fetal heart injection. Inhibition of miR-7 during early embryonic life results in an overall downregulation of insulin production, decreased β-cell numbers, and glucose intolerance in the postnatal period. This phenomenon is specific for miR-7 and possibly due to a systemic effect on pancreatic development. On the other hand, the in vitro inhibition of miR-7 in explanted pancreatic buds leads to β-cell death and generation of β-cells expressing less insulin than those in MO control. Therefore, in addition to the potential indirect effects on pancreatic differentiation derived from its systemic downregulation, the knockdown of miR-7 appears to have a β-cell-specific effect as well. These findings suggest that modulation of miR-7 expression could be utilized in the development of stem cell therapies to cure diabetes.

Keywords: Antisense microRNA; In vivo delivery; Islets; MicroRNA; β-Cells

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/096368911X612521

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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