The researchers from China Medical University have reported that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) accelerate the curing of ulcerative colitis in rats. Stem cells help cure the disease by regulating expression of microRNAs that changes during the disease. Association of microRNAs malfunction with UC has recently been revealed, but the mechanism of how microRNAs regulate UC remain unclear.
The researchers investigated the effect of adipose stem cell treatment in rats with ulcerative colitis induced by 2,4,6-trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid. They used quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and immunofluorescence analyses to monitor the expression of microRNA-1236 and its target molecule, retinoid-related orphan receptor gamma (RORγ).
Stem cell treatment highly ameliorated ulcerative colitis in rats and decreased the inflammation. In addition, it regulated the expression of microRNA-1236 so that it resulted in decreased expression of RORγ in the rat model of UC. Further analysis demonstrated that the expression of RORγ was directly targeted and regulated by microRNA-1236 – and the relation between microRNA-1236 and RORγ expression was negative (inhibition of microRNA-1236 lead to higher levels of RORγ).
Overall, the study has shown that adipose stem cells effectively alleviated ulcerative colitis in rats with altered expression of microRNA-1236, this RNA may play important role in regulating the disease course.