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MiR-224 expression increases radiation sensitivity of glioblastoma cells


Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and highly aggressive primary malignant brain tumor. The intrinsic resistance of this brain tumor limits the efficacy of administered treatment like radiation therapy. In the present study, effect of miR-224 expression on growth characteristics of established GBM cell lines was analyzed. MiR-224 expression in the cell lines as well as in primary GBM tumor tissues was found to be low. Exogenous transient expression of miR-224 using either synthetic mimics or stable inducible expression using doxycycline inducible lentiviral vector carrying miR-224 gene, was found to bring about 30–55% reduction in clonogenic potential of U87 MG cells. MiR-224 expression reduced clonogenic potential of U87 MG cells by 85–90% on irradiation at a dose of 6 Gy, a dose that brought about 50% reduction in clonogenic potential in the absence of miR-224 expression. MiR-224 expression in glioblastoma cells resulted in 55–65% reduction in the expression levels of API5 gene, a known target of miR-224. Further, siRNA mediated down-regulation of API5 was also found to have radiation sensitizing effect on glioblastoma cell lines. Analysis of the Cancer Genome Atlas data showed lower miR-224 expression levels in male GBM patients to correlate with poorer survival. Higher expression levels of miR-224 target API5 also showed significant correlation with poorer survival of GBM patients. Up-regulation of miR-224 or down-regulation of its target API5 in combination with radiation therapy, therefore appear as promising options for the treatment of glioblastoma, which is refractory to the existing treatment strategies.

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