eISSN: 1643-3750


MicroRNA-181a Regulates Apoptosis and Autophagy Process in Parkinson’s Disease by Inhibiting p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK)/c-Jun N-Terminal Kinases (JNK) Signaling Pathways

Ying Liu, Yanfeng Song, Xiaotun Zhu

(Department of Internal Medicine Neurology, HuaMei Branch of the 2nd People’s Hospital of Liaocheng, Liaocheng, Shandong, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:1597-1606

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.900218

Published: 2017-04-02

BACKGROUND: microRNA (miR)-181a has been reported to be downregulated in Parkinson’s disease (PD), but the regulatory mechanism of miR-181a on neuron apoptosis and autophagy is still poorly understood. We aimed to investigate the neuroprotective effects of miR-181a on PD in vitro.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Human SK-N-SH neuroblastoma cells were incubated with different concentrations of 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium ion (MPP+) to induce the PD model. The expression of miR-181a was then analyzed. After transfection with miR-181a mimic or scramble following MPP+ treatment, the expression of autophagy protein markers (LC3II, LC3I, and Beclin 1) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK) signaling proteins (p-p38, p38, p-JNK, and JNK) and cell apoptosis were detected. Furthermore, the cells were transfected with miR-181a inhibitor and cultured in the presence or absence of p38 inhibitor SB203582 or JNK inhibitor SP600125, and the cell apoptosis was tested again.
RESULTS: The expression of miR-181a was gradually decreased with the increase of MPP+ concentration (P<0.05, P<0.01, or P<0.001). Overexpression of miR-181a significantly decreased the LC3II/LC3I ratio, Beclin 1 expression, cell apoptosis, and the expression of p-p38 and p-JNK compared to the MPP+ + miR-181a scramble group (all P<0.05). In addition, we observed that SB203582 or SP600125 showed no effects on cell apoptosis, but the effects of miR-181a inhibitor on cell apoptosis were reversed by administration of SB203582 or SP600125 compared to the scramble group (P<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that miR-181a regulates apoptosis and autophagy in PD by inhibiting the p38 MAPK/JNK pathway.

Keywords: Apoptosis, Autophagy, MAP Kinase Signaling System, MicroRNAs, p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases, Parkinson Disease