1. Department of Pathology, Changzheng Hospital, Navy Medical University (Second Military Medical University), Shanghai 200003, China.
2. Department of Pathology, No. 960 Hospital of People' Liberation Army, Jinan 250031, China.
3. Department of Pathological Anatomy, Nantong University, Nantong 226001, China.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.
Normally, there are multiple microRNAs involved in the pathogenesis of liver fibrosis. In our work, we aimed at identifying the role of miR-34c in the hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation and liver fibrosis and its potential mechanism. Our results have shown that during natural activation of HSC, the level of miR-34c was increased significantly whereas acyl-CoA synthetase long-chain family member-1(ACSL1), which is a key enzyme can affect fatty acid(FA) synthesis, was decreased. A double fluorescence reporter assay further confirmed that ACSL1 is a direct target gene of miR-34c. Moreover, the inhibition of miR-34C can attenuate the synthesis of collagen in HSC-T6. In our rescue assay, ACSL1 expression was 1.49-fold higher compared to normal control cells which were transfected with the miR-34c inhibitor in a stable low expression ACSL1 cell line. While at the same time, α-SMA and Col1α expression decreased by 18.22% and 2.58%, respectively. Moreover, we performed an in vivo model using dimethylnitrosamine (DMN) in conjunction with the miR-34c agomir, combined with the treatment of DMN and the miR-34c agomir can increase liver fibrosis. Meanwhile, the degree of hepatic fibrosis was increased and lipid droplets reduced dramatically in rats and HSC-T6 cell treated with miR-34c mimics alone compared to untreated groups. Our results indicate that miR-34c plays an essential role in liver fibrosis by targeting ACSL1 closely associated with lipid droplets, and it might be used as a potential therapeutic target.
Keywords: miR-34c, ACSL1, liver fibrogenesis, fatty acid, lipid metabolism