1. State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, Collaborative Innovation Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, The First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, 79 Qingchun Rd., Hangzhou, 310003, China.
2. Hangzhou No.14 High School, 580 Fengqi Rd, Gongshu District, Hangzhou, 310006, China.
Background and Aims: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in hepatocyte differentiation from human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hBMSCs) and the therapeutic application in vivo. However, the mechanisms of miRNA regulation are still unknown. This study aimed to profile the miRNA basis for improving the function of hBMSC-differentiated hepatocyte-like cells (hBMSC-Heps).
Methods: Characteristic miRNAs of hBMSC-Heps were identified by transcriptome sequencing and validated by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). An in vivo hBMSC transplantation model was used to assess the regulatory effects of miRNAs on liver regeneration during hBMSC therapy in pigs with fulminant hepatic failure (FHF). The biological functions of significant miRNA molecules were confirmed by transfection of miRNA activators or inhibitors into hBMSCs during hepatogenic differentiation.
Results: The transcriptome of hBMSC-Heps showed characteristics distinct from those of undifferentiated hBMSCs. A total of 77 miRNAs were significantly differentially expressed in hBMSC-Heps at day 10 and day 20 after hBMSC differentiation that were directly related to the functions of hepatocytes. Among the top 10 significantly differentially expressed and the top 10 most abundant miRNAs, nine miRNAs that exhibited a pattern of gradual change were chosen for further analysis. The expression of nine miRNAs was confirmed by qRT-PCR in vitro and showed the same changing trends in vivo in an hBMSC transplantation model in pigs. Functional experiments with these miRNAs showed that activators of hsa-miR-26b-5p and hsa-miR-148a-3p and an inhibitor of hsa-miR-423-3p were sufficient to improve the differentiation of hBMSCs into hepatocyte-like cells.
Conclusions: Transcriptome profiles of miRNA revealed the basis of the differentiation and development of hBMSC-Heps. Manipulation of three miRNAs (hsa-miR-26b-5p, hsa-miR-148a-3p and hsa-miR-423-3p) significantly improved hepatocyte generation and liver regeneration, indicating the potential of these miRNAs for future clinical applications.
Keywords: microRNA, human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells, hepatic differentiation, fulminant hepatic failure