Indexed on: 13 Jan '17Published on: 13 Jan '17Published in: Scientific Reports
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a ligand-activated transcription factor historically known for its toxic responses to man-made pollutants such as dioxin. More recently, the AhR has emerged as a suppressor of inflammation, oxidative stress and apoptosis from cigarette smoke by mechanisms that may involve the regulation of microRNA. However, little is known about the AhR regulation of miRNA expression in the lung in response to inhaled toxicants. Therefore, we exposed Ahr(-/-) and Ahr(+/-) mice to cigarette smoke for 4 weeks and evaluated lung miRNA expression by PCR array. There was a dramatic regulation of lung miRNA by the AhR in the absence of exogenous ligand. In response to cigarette smoke, there were more up-regulated miRNA in Ahr(-/-) mice compared to Ahr(+/-) mice, including the cancer-associated miRNA miR-96. There was no significant change in the expression of the AhR regulated proteins HuR and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). There were significant increases in the anti-oxidant gene sulfiredoxin 1 (Srxn1) and FOXO3a- predicted targets of miR-96. Collectively, these data support a prominent role for the AhR in regulating lung miRNA expression. Further studies to elucidate a role for these miRNA may further uncover novel biological function for the AhR in respiratory health and disease.