Adipogenic miRNA and meta-signature miRNAs involved in human adipocyte differentiation and obesity

Chunmei Shi, Fangyan Huang, Xiaohong Gu, Min Zhang, Juan Wen, Xing Wang, Lianghui You, Xianwei Cui, Chenbo Ji and Xirong Guo _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:40830-40845. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.8518

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Chunmei Shi1,2,*, Fangyan Huang1,2,*, Xiaohong Gu1,2, Min Zhang1, Juan Wen1, Xing Wang1, Lianghui You1, Xianwei Cui1, Chenbo Ji1,2 and Xirong Guo1,2

1 Department of Children Health Care, Nanjing Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital Affiliated to Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China

2 Institute of Pediatrics, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China

* These authors have contributted equally as first author

Correspondence to:

Xirong Guo, email:

Chenbo Ji, email:

Keywords: miRNA, adipocyte, adipogenesis, meta-analysis, obesity

Received: January 31, 2016 Accepted: March 28, 2016 Published: March 31, 2016


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been identified as a new class of regulatory molecules that influence many biological functions, including metabolism, adipocyte differentiation. To determine the role of adipogenic miRNAs in the adipocyte differentiation process, we used microarray technology to monitor miRNA levels in human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs-Ad), human stromal vascular cells (SVCs) and differentiated adipocytes. 79 miRNAs were found to be differentially expressed, most of which are located in obesity related chromosomal regions but have not been previously linked to adipocyte differentiation process. A systematic search was made for relevant studies in academic data bases, involving the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) ArrayExpress, Pubmed and Embase database. Eight studies on human adipocyte differentiation or obesity were included in the final analysis. After combining our microarray data with meta-analysis of published microarray data, we detected 42 differently expressed miRNAs (meta-signature miRNAs) in mature adipocytes compared to SVCs or hMSCs-Ad. Our study shows meta-signature miRNAs specific for adipogenesis, several of which are correlated with key gene targets demonstrating functional relationships to pathways in BMP signaling pathway, Cell differentiation, Wnt signaling, insulin receptor signaling pathway, MAPK signaling, Cell cycle and lipid metabolic process. Our study shows that the first evidence of hsa-let-7 family, hsa-miR-15a-5p, hsa-miR-27a-3p, hsa-miR-106b-5p, hsa-miR-148a-3p and hsa-miR-26b-5p got a great weight in adipogenesis. We concluded that meta-signature miRNAs involved in adipocyte differentiation and provided pathophysiological roles and novel insight into obesity and its related metabolic diseases.

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