Upregulation of microRNA-4417 and Its Target Genes Contribute to Nickel Chloride-promoted Lung Epithelial Cell Fibrogenesis and Tumorigenesis

Nickel compounds have been classified as carcinogens and shown to be associated with induction of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in fibrogenesis and tumorigenesis, as well as the crucial role of microRNAs (miRNAs) and their related genes in controlling EMT and cancer metastasis. Thus, the mechanisms involved in the regulation of EMT in nickel-treated cells are of potential interest in understanding lung fibrosis and tumour progression. In the present study, the authors investigated the miRNA-dependent mechanisms involved in nickel-induced EMT in lung epithelial cells. Nickel increased miR-4417 expression and decreased its target gene TAB2 expression. Treatment of cells with TGF-? inhibitor SB525334 significantly blocked NiCl2 and TGF-?-induced EMT. The expression of miR-4417 was abolished by SB525334 in TGF-?-treated cells, but not in nickel-treated cells. Both overexpression of miR-4417 and silencing of TAB2 induced fibronectin expression, but did not reduce E-cadherin expression. Moreover, oral administration of nickel promoted lung tumour growth in nude mice that had received BEAS-2B transformed cells by intravenous injection. The induction of EMT by nickel is mediated through multiple pathways. Induction of abundant miR-4417 and reduction of TAB2 expression following nickel exposure and may be involved in nickel-induced fibronectin. These findings provide novel insight into the roles of nickel in fibrogenesis and tumour progression.

Authors: Wu CH, Hsiao YM, Yeh KT, Tsou TC, Chen CY, Wu MF, Ko JL. ; Full Source: Science Reports. 2017 Nov 10;7(1):15320. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-14610-7.