• Chai H, Yan Z, Huang K, Jiang Y, Zhang L. (2018) MicroRNA expression, target genes, and signaling pathways in infants with a ventricular septal defect. Mol Cell Biochem 1(2), 171-187.

This study aimed to systematically investigate the relationship between miRNA expression and the occurrence of ventricular septal defect (VSD), and characterize the miRNA target genes and pathways that can lead to VSD. The miRNAs that were differentially expressed in blood samples from VSD and normal infants were screened and validated by implementing miRNA microarrays and qRT-PCR. The target genes regulated by differentially expressed miRNAs were predicted using three target gene databases. The functions and signaling pathways of the target genes were enriched using the GO database and KEGG database, respectively. The transcription and protein expression of specific target genes in critical pathways were compared in the VSD and normal control groups using qRT-PCR and western blotting, respectively. Compared with the normal control group, the VSD group had 22 differentially expressed miRNAs; 19 were downregulated and three were upregulated. The 10,677 predicted target genes participated in many biological functions related to cardiac development and morphogenesis. Four target genes (mGLUR, Gq, PLC, and PKC) were involved in the PKC pathway and four (ECM, FAK, PI3 K, and PDK1) were involved in the PI3 K-Akt pathway. The transcription and protein expression of these eight target genes were significantly upregulated in the VSD group. The 22 miRNAs that were dysregulated in the VSD group were mainly downregulated, which may result in the dysregulation of several key genes and biological functions related to cardiac development. These effects could also be exerted via the upregulation of eight specific target genes, the subsequent over-activation of the PKC and PI3 K-Akt pathways, and the eventual abnormal cardiac development and VSD.

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