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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 296747, 16 pages
Research Article

Integration Analysis of MicroRNA and mRNA Expression Profiles in Human Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes Cultured in Modeled Microgravity

1Dipartimento di Biologia, Università degli Studi di Padova, Via U. Bassi 58/B, 35131 Padova, Italy
2Laboratori Nazionali di Legnaro, INFN, Viale dell’Università 2, Legnaro, 35020 Padova, Italy

Received 16 April 2014; Revised 22 May 2014; Accepted 22 May 2014; Published 23 June 2014

Academic Editor: Mariano Bizzarri

Copyright © 2014 C. Girardi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We analyzed miRNA and mRNA expression profiles in human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) incubated in microgravity condition, simulated by a ground-based rotating wall vessel (RWV) bioreactor. Our results show that 42 miRNAs were differentially expressed in MMG-incubated PBLs compared with 1 g incubated ones. Among these, miR-9-5p, miR-9-3p, miR-155-5p, miR-150-3p, and miR-378-3p were the most dysregulated. To improve the detection of functional miRNA-mRNA pairs, we performed gene expression profiles on the same samples assayed for miRNA profiling and we integrated miRNA and mRNA expression data. The functional classification of miRNA-correlated genes evidenced significant enrichment in the biological processes of immune/inflammatory response, signal transduction, regulation of response to stress, regulation of programmed cell death, and regulation of cell proliferation. We identified the correlation of miR-9-3p, miR-155-5p, miR-150-3p, and miR-378-3p expression with that of genes involved in immune/inflammatory response (e.g., IFNG and IL17F), apoptosis (e.g., PDCD4 and PTEN), and cell proliferation (e.g., NKX3-1 and GADD45A). Experimental assays of cell viability and apoptosis induction validated the results obtained by bioinformatics analyses demonstrating that in human PBLs the exposure to reduced gravitational force increases the frequency of apoptosis and decreases cell proliferation.