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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2016, Article ID 9856538, 10 pages
Research Article

Identification of a Novel lincRNA-p21-miR-181b-PTEN Signaling Cascade in Liver Fibrosis

1Department of Infectious Diseases, The First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou 325000, China
2Department of Gastroenterology, Songjiang Hospital Affiliated Shanghai First People’s Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 201600, China
3Department of Gastroenterology, Shanghai Songjiang Hospital Affiliated to Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 210029, China
4Emergency Department, The First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou 325000, China
5Key Laboratory of Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou 325000, China

Received 7 April 2016; Revised 21 June 2016; Accepted 3 July 2016

Academic Editor: Fumio Tsuji

Copyright © 2016 Fujun Yu 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.


Previously, we found that long intergenic noncoding RNA-p21 (lincRNA-p21) inhibits hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation and liver fibrosis via p21. However, the underlying mechanism of the antifibrotic role of lincRNA-p21 in liver fibrosis remains largely unknown. Here, we found that lincRNA-p21 expression was significantly downregulated during liver fibrosis. In LX-2 cells, the reduction of lincRNA-p21 induced by TGF-β1 was in a dose- and time-dependent manner. lincRNA-p21 expression was reduced in liver tissues from patients with liver cirrhosis when compared with that of healthy controls. Notably, lincRNA-p21 overexpression contributed to the suppression of HSC activation. lincRNA-p21 suppressed HSC proliferation and induced a significant reduction in α-SMA and type I collagen. All these effects induced by lincRNA-p21 were blocked down by the loss of PTEN, suggesting that lincRNA-p21 suppressed HSC activation via PTEN. Further study demonstrated that microRNA-181b (miR-181b) was involved in the effects of lincRNA-p21 on HSC activation. The effects of lincRNA-p21 on PTEN expression and HSC activation were inhibited by miR-181b mimics. We demonstrated that lincRNA-p21 enhanced PTEN expression by competitively binding miR-181b. In conclusion, our results disclose a novel lincRNA-p21-miR-181b-PTEN signaling cascade in liver fibrosis and suggest lincRNA-p21 as a promising molecular target for antifibrosis therapy.