GFAP promoter-driven RNA interference on TGF-β1 to treat liver fibrosis

Ningning Yang, Ram I. Mahato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Purpose: The objective was to determine the role of promoters and miRNA backbone in shRNA-based hepatic stellate cell (HSC)-specific transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 gene silencing. This is expected to avoid the side effect of non-specific TGF-β1 gene silencing. Methods: Two most potent shRNAs targeting 769 and 1033 start sites of rat TGF-β1 mRNA were cloned into pSilencer 1.0 vector for enhanced TGF-β1 gene silencing. We then constructed HSC-specific pri-miRNA mimic and pri-miRNA cluster mimic expression plasmids in which shRNA expression was driven by a glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) promoter to achieve HSC-specific TGF-β1 gene silencing to avoid nonspecific inhibition of TGF-β1 expression in other cells and organs. Results: These TGF-β1 pri-miRNA-producing plasmids showed the inhibition of proliferation and induced apoptosis of activated HSC-T6 cells. TGF-β1 pri-miRNA cluster mimic plasmids decreased TGF-β1 and collagen gene expression at both mRNA and protein levels. Conclusions: GFAP promoter driven TGF-β1 pri-miRNA producing plasmids have the potential to be used for site-specific gene therapeutics to treat liver fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)752-761
Number of pages10
JournalPharmaceutical Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • GFAP promoter
  • TGF-β1
  • liver fibrosis
  • pri-miRNA mimics
  • shRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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