MiR-20a-containing exosomes from umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells alleviates liver ischemia/reperfusion injury

Lin Zhang, Yaolin Song, Lei Chen, Donghang Li, Haohao Feng, Zilong Lu, Tao Fan, Zubin Chen, Man J. Livingston, Qing Geng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been proved to exert considerable therapeutic effects on ischemia-reperfusion (I/R)-induced injury, but the underlying mechanism remains unknown. In this study, we aimed to explore the potential molecular mechanism underlying the therapeutic effect of MSCs-derived exosome reinforced with miR-20a in reversing liver I/R injury. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, Western blot, and IHC were carried out to compare the differential expressions of miR-20a, Beclin-I, FAS, Caspase-3, mTOR and P62 in IR rats and normal rats. TUNEL was performed to assess IR-induced apoptosis in IR rats, and luciferase assay was used to confirm the inhibitory effect of miR-20a on Beclin-I and FAS expression. Among the 12 candidate microRNAs (miRNAs), miR-486, miR-25, miR-24, miR-20a,miR-466 and miR-433-3p were significantly downregulated in I/R. In particular, miR-20a, a miRNA highly expressed in umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells, was proved to bind to the 3ʹ UTR of Beclin-I and FAS to exert an inhibitory effect on their expressions. Since Beclin-I and FAS were aberrantly upregulated in IR, exosomes separated from UC-MSCs showed therapeutic efficacy in reversing I/R induced apoptosis. In addition, exosomes reinforced with miR-20a and separated from UC-MSCs almost fully alleviated I/R injury. Furthermore, our results showed that miR-20a could alleviate the abnormal expression of genes related to apoptosis and autophagy, such as active Caspase-3, mTOR, P62, and LC3II. This study presented detailed evidence to clarify the mechanism underlying the therapeutic efficacy of UC-MSCs in the treatment of I/R injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3698-3710
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • MSCs
  • apoptosis
  • autophagy
  • exosome
  • liver I/R injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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