J Chin Med Assoc. 2024 Feb 2. doi: 10.1097/JCMA.0000000000001063. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is mainly the degeneration of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) associated with high apoptosis and reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, which is accepted to be caused by the mutations in the subunits of complex I of the mitochondrial electron transport chain. The treatment is still infant while efforts of correcting genes or using antioxidants do not bring good and consistent results. Unaffected carrier carries LHON mutation but shows normal phenotype, suggesting that the disease’s pathogenesis is complex, in which secondary factors exist and cooperate with the primary complex I dysfunction.
METHODS: Using LHON patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) as the in vitro disease model, we previously demonstrated that circRNA_0087207 had the most significantly higher expression level in the LHON patient-iPSC-derived RGCs compared with the unaffected carrier-iPSC-derived RGCs. To elaborate the underlying pathologies regulated by circRNA_008720 mechanistically, bioinformatics analysis was conducted and elucidated that circRNA_0087207 could act as a sponge of miR-548c-3p and modulate PLSCR1/TGFB2 levels in ND4 mutation-carrying LHON patient iPSC-derived RGCs.
RESULTS: Using LHON iPSC-derived RGCs as the disease-based platform, KEGG pathway analysis on targeted mRNA of miR-548c-3p showed the connection with apoptosis, suggesting downregulation of miR548c-3p contributes to the apoptosis of LHON patient RGCs.
CONCLUSION: We showed that the downregulation of miR548c-3p plays a critical role in modulating cellular dysfunction and the apoptotic program of RGCs in LHON.