Friday, 20 November 2015

Summary of RNA sequencing reveals a depletion of collagen targeting microRNAs in Dupuytren’s disease

Summary of RNA sequencing reveals a depletion of collagen targeting microRNAs in Dupuytren’s disease

As far as I can tell nothing ground-breaking but interesting nonetheless and potentially it could be ground-breaking in the long run. I will not go into the basics of the science as I have done that many times before but we all have RNA which doesn't actually code for proteins (miRNA) what this does do though is interact with other RNA so that it can't interact with RIbosomes and be translated into a protein. So miRNA can have a massive influence on the levels of proteins within a cell. Proteins are what actually drive the majority of changes in the cells and therefore tissues and therefore the body so the fact that miRNA can impact on the level of protein is very important. 

From what I can make out they are saying that there is a difference in the expression profiles between normal cells and Dupuytren's cells and that in normal cells you see a higher amount of miRNA that target Collagen and ECM proteins etc. It is perhaps the case that lower levels of these in diseased tissue is the cause of the condition or at least part of the effect. They appear to be saying that if you could boost these RNAs in patients then it could be a treatment of sorts and if you can detect them then it could be used as a biomarker to guide where diseased tissue is and determine what needs to be removed during surgery. 

Interestingly in their summary they do not draw attention to the fact that there was more up-regulation in DD tissue than there was in the normal tissue (70 odd miRNA's compared to 30 or so). Check out page 8 for a breakdown of these but the conclusion I am drawing is that the important functional effect is the miRNAs that I mentioned above, the comparatively elevated levels of miRNAs that target Collagen etc in the normal tissue. 

It would be interesting to see if they could detect a difference between patients at different stages, these patients were all advanced cases that were having surgery and perhaps there is a development of the profile over time or indeed a pre-Dupuytren's profile which can reveal which patients are at risk. After all if it is in your genes then it will probably be in your profile. 

"The microRNAs characterized in this investigation have the potential to serve as disease biomarkers that can help guide surgical management by determining optimal surgical margins during open fasciectomy. Novel RNA-therapeutics that are currently in development, also have the potential to target disease specific microRNAs and prophylactically prevent disabling fibrosis minimizing the need for invasive surgical treatments. Fibrosis related microRNAs may also play important regulatory roles in other disorders of fibrosis including scleroderma, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, as well as scarring and wound healing."

This is some interesting research and I look forward to hopefully seeing this progress in the future.