Induction of specific microRNAs inhibits cutaneous wound healing

Irena Pastar, Aly Azeem Khan, Olivera Stojadinovic, Elizabeth A. Lebrun, Mayrin Correa Medina, Harold Brem, Robert S. Kirsner, Joaquin J. Jimenez, Christina Leslie, Marjana Tomic-Canic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Chronic nonhealing wounds, such as venous ulcers (VUs), are a widespread and serious medical problem with high morbidity and mortality. The molecular pathology of VUs remains poorly understood, impeding the development of effective treatment strategies. Using mRNA expression profiling of VUs biopsies and computational analysis, we identified a candidate set of microRNAs with lowered target gene expression. Among these candidates, miR-16, -20a, -21, -106a -130a, and -203 were confirmed to be aberrantly overexpressed in a cohort study of 10 VU patients by quantitative PCR and in situ hybridizations. These microRNAs were predicted to target multiple genes important for wound healing, including early growth response factor 3, vinculin, and leptin receptor (LepR). Overexpression of the top up-regulated miRNAs, miR-21 and miR-130a, in primary human keratinocytes down-regulated expression of the endogenous LepR and early growth response factor 3. The luciferase reporter assay verified LepR as a direct target for miR-21 and miR-130a. Both miR-21 and miR-130a delayed epithelialization in an acute human skin wound model. Furthermore, in vivo overexpression of miR-21 inhibited epithelialization and granulation tissue formation in a rat wound model. Our results identify a novel mechanism in which overexpression of specific set of microRNAs inhibits wound healing, resulting in new potential molecular markers and targets for therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29324-29335
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number35
StatePublished - Aug 24 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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