Open Access Research article

MicroRNA profiling of rats with ochratoxin A nephrotoxicity

Qiu Dai1, Jue Zhao1, Xiaozhe Qi1, Wentao Xu1*, Xiaoyun He1, Mingzhang Guo1, Harsh Dweep2, Wen-Hsing Cheng3, Yunbo Luo1, Kai Xia1, Norbert Gretz2 and Kunlun Huang1

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of food safety and molecular biology, College of Food Science and Nutritional Engineering, China Agricultural University, 302 box, No.17, Qinghua East Rd, Beijing, Haidian District 100083, P R China

2 Medical Faculty Mannheim, Medical Research Center, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim D-68167, Germany

3 Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA

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BMC Genomics 2014, 15:333  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-333

Published: 5 May 2014



Nephrotoxicity is the most prominent one among the various toxicities of ochratoxin A (OTA). MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that have an impact on a wide range of biological processes by regulating gene expression at post-transcriptional level or protein systhesis level. The objective of this study is to analyze miRNA profiling in the kidneys of rats gavaged with OTA.


To profile miRNAs in the kidneys of rats with OTA nephrotoxicity, high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatics approaches were applied to analyze the miRNAs in the kidney of rats following OTA treatment. A total of 409 known miRNAs and 8 novel miRNAs were identified in the kidney and the levels of the novel miRNAs were varied in response to different doses of OTA. Expression of miR-129, miR-130a, miR-130b, miR-141, miR-218b and miR-3588 were uniquely suppressed in mid dose but then elevated in high dose, with opposite expression to their target genes. The expression pattern was closely related with the “MAPK signaling pathway”. Dicer1 and Drosha were significantly suppressed, indicating an impairment of miRNA biogenesis in response to OTA.


The abrogation of miRNA maturation process suggests a new target of OTA toxicity. Moreover, the identification of the differentially expressed miRNAs provides us a molecular insight into the nephrtoxicity of OTA.

High throughput sequencing; Ochratoxin A; miRNA biogenesis; miRNA expression; Nephrotoxicity