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Protective Effects of MiR-129-5p on Acute Spinal Cord Injury Rats

Ruifeng Yang, Xiaobin Cai, Jian Li, Feng Liu, Tao Sun

Department of Orthopedics, Lishui Municipal Central Hospital, Lishui, Zhejiang, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2019; 25:8281-8288

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.916731

Available online:

Published: 2019-11-04

BACKGROUND: Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a severe devastating condition associated with serious disability and neurologic deficits. Aberrant micro RNA (miRNA) expression has been related to a variety of central nervous system diseases including SCI. In the present study, we aimed to discover the role of miR-129-5p on SCI.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: An acute SCI rat model was induced, following the modified Allen method. A total of 36 rats were randomly assigned into 4 groups (n=9 in every group): Sham group; Model group (SCI+saline); SCI+NC group; and SCI+miR-129-5p group (100 nm solution, every 2 days). Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan (BBB) locomotor rating score was carried out to determine functional recovery. TUNEL (terminal dUTP nick-end labeling) staining was used to evaluate cell apoptosis. Hematoxylin and eosin staining was performed to assess the pathological state of spinal cord. Furthermore, western blot assay was conducted to measure the calpain1 and calpain2 expression.
RESULTS: Our data suggested that the expression level of miR-129-5p was markedly reduced in rats after SCI. Then miR-129-5p mimic was injected into the vertebral canal. We found that the SCI+miR-129-5p group had a high score in the BBB test compared with the SCI+NC group and the Model group. The overexpression of miR-129-5p obviously reduced tissue loss, damaged cells, and the number of TUNEL positive cells. Moreover, western blot assay exhibited that overexpression of miR-129-5p decreased calpain1, calpain2, and cleaved caspase-3 expression.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggested that overexpression of miR-129-5p improved neurological function by promoting functional recovery, reducing tissue loss and cell apoptosis in rats in an SCI model, possibly through downregulation of calpain1 and calpain2.

Keywords: Apoptosis, Calpain, MicroRNAs, Spinal Cord Injuries