Therapeutic Potential of OMe-PS-miR-29b1 for Treating Liver Fibrosis

Virender Kumar, Vinod Kumar, Jiangtao Luo, Ram I. Mahato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Trans-differentiation of quiescent hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) into active myofibroblasts secretes excess amounts of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. miR-29b1 has the potential to treat liver fibrosis, because it targets several profibrotic genes. We previously demonstrated that miR-29b1 and the hedgehog (Hh) pathway inhibitor GDC-0449 could, together, inhibit the activation of HSCs and ECM production in common bile-duct-ligated (CBDL) mice. Herein, we determined the effect of chemical modifications of miR-29b1 on its stability, immunogenicity, and Argonaute-2 (Ago2) loading in vitro, after modifying its antisense strand with phosphorothioate (PS-miR-29b1), 2′-O-methyl-phosphorothioate (OMe-miR-29b1), locked nucleic acid (LNA-miR-29b1), and N,N’-diethyl-4-(4-nitronaphthalen-1-ylazo)-phenylamine (ZEN-miR-29b1). Chemical modifications significantly improved stability of miR-29b1 in 50% FBS. Among all the modified miRNAs tested, OMe-PS-miR-29b1 showed the highest stability with low immunogenicity, without the loss of efficacy in vitro. Therefore, OMe-PS-miR-29b1 was complexed with poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(2-methyl-2-carboxyl-propylenecarbonate-graft-dodecanol-graft-tetraethylenepentamine (mPEG-b-PCC-g-DC-g-TEPA) cationic micelles, and anti-fibrotic efficacy was evaluated in CBDL mice. There was a significant improvement in liver histology and decrease in the levels of injury markers. Further, mRNA/protein levels of collagen, α-SMA, and TIMP-1 were significantly lower for the OMe-PS-miR-29b1-loaded micelles compared to miR-29b1-loaded micelles. In conclusion, micellar delivery of OMe-PS-miR-29b1 is a promising strategy to treat liver fibrosis. Kumar et al. demonstrated the improved serum stability, immunogenicity, and efficacy of miR-29b1 when modified with 2′-O-methyl-phosphorothioate. Systemic administration of OMe-PS-miR-29b1 micellar formulation significantly decreased the levels of liver injury markers, collagen, and proinflammatory cytokines. Therefore, this is a promising strategy for treating liver and other fibroses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2798-2811
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 5 2018


  • CBDL
  • backbone modifications
  • liver fibrosis
  • miR-29b1
  • micelles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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