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Arsenic exposure triggers a shift in microRNA expression

, : Arsenic exposure triggers a shift in microRNA expression. Science of the Total Environment 472: 672-680

Exposure to inorganic Arsenic (iAs) through drinking water is a major public health problem affecting most countries. iAs has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as Group 1: "Carcinogenic to humans". Although numerous studies have shown the related adverse effects of iAs, sensitive appropriate biomarkers for studies of environmental epidemiology are still required. The present work aims at investigate the role of microRNAs (miRNAs), powerful negative regulators of gene expression, playing a key role in many physiological and pathological cellular processes, in iAs exposure. To this end, we analyzed miRNA changes in expression profile triggered by iAs exposure in Jurkat cell line. We used microarray technology to profile the expression of miRNAs following 2 μmol/L sodium arsenite treatment at different time points. Moreover, we performed phenotypic analysis of iAs treated cells. Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) was used to validate miRNA microarray data and to assay expression modulation of selected relevant mRNAs. Finally, bioinformatics techniques were applied to reconstruct iAs-relevant molecular pathways and miRNA regulatory networks from the expression data. We report miRNAs modulated after iAs treatment in Jurkat cells. In particular, we highlight 36 miRNAs exhibiting consistent dysregulation and particularly a panel of 8 miRNAs which we also validated by RT-PCR analysis. Computational analysis of lists of putative target genes for these 8 miRNAs points to an involvement in arsenic-response pathways, for a subset of them, that were analyzed by RT-PCR. Furthermore, iAs exposure reveals induction of cell cycle progression and the failure of apoptosis, supporting the idea of iAs carcinogenic activity. Our study provides a list of miRNAs whose expression levels are affected by iAs treatment, corroborating the importance of proceeding with the hunt for specific subset of miRNAs, which can serve as potential biomarkers of iAs effects with useful diagnostic value.


PMID: 24317173

DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.11.092

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