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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

microRNA expression in the aging mouse lung

Andrew E Williams*, Mark M Perry, Sterghios A Moschos and Mark A Lindsay

Author Affiliations

Biopharmaceutics Research Group, Airway Disease, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, London, SW3 6LY, UK,

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BMC Genomics 2007, 8:172  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-8-172

Published: 15 June 2007

Abstract

Background

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a novel class of short double stranded RNA that mediate the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. Previous studies have implicated changes in miRNA expression in the regulation of development and the induction of diseases such as cancer. However, although miRNAs have been implicated in the process of aging in C. elegans, nothing is known of their role in mammalian tissues.

Results

To address this question, we have used a highly-sensitive, semi-quantitative RT-PCR based approach to measure the expression profile of 256 of the 493 currently identified miRNAs in the lungs from 6 month (adult) and 18 month (aged) old female BALB/c mice. We show that, despite the characteristic changes in anatomy and gene expression associated with lung aging, there were no significant changes in the expression of 256 miRNAs.

Conclusion

Overall, these results show that miRNA transcription is unchanged during lung aging and suggests that stable expression of miRNAs might instead buffer age related changes in the expression of protein-encoding genes.