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Deppe, Janina, Steinritz, Dirk, Santovito, Donato, Egea, Virginia, Schmidt, Annette, Weber, Christian and Ries, Christian (2016): Upregulation of miR-203 and miR-210 affect growth and differentiation of keratinocytes after exposure to sulfur mustard in normoxia and hypoxia. In: Toxicology Letters, Vol. 244: pp. 81-87

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Exposure of the skin to sulfur mustard (SM) results in long-term complications such as impaired tissue regeneration. Previous own studies in normal human epidermal keratinocytes (NHEK) treated with SM demonstrated reduced proliferation, premature differentiation and a restricted functionality of hypoxia-mediated signaling in the cells. Here, we investigated the involvement of microRNAs, miR-203 and miR-210, in these mechanisms. SM significantly upregulated the expression of miR-203 in NHEK when cultivated under normoxic and hypoxic conditions. SM had no effect on miR-210 under normoxia. However, miR-210 levels were greatly increased in NHEK when grown in hypoxia and further elevated upon exposure of the cells to SM. In normoxia and hypoxia, inhibition of miR-203 by transfection of NHEK with complementary oligonucleotides, anti-miR-203, attenuated the SM-induced impairment of metabolic activity and proliferation, and counteracted SM-promoted keratin-1 expression in these cells. Consistent ameliorating effects on dysregulated metabolic activity, proliferation and keratin-1 expression in SM-treated NHEK were obtained upon inhibition of miR-210 in these cells grown in hypoxia. Our findings provide evidence that miR-203 and miR-210 are key regulators in normal and SM-impaired keratinocyte functionality, and suggest potential usefulness of inhibitors against miR-203 and miR-210 for target-directed therapeutical intervention to improve re-epithelialization of SM-injured skin. (C) 2015 ELSEVIER. All rights reserved.

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