Objective: Dysregulation of miR-34a has been reported for its implication in neuronal
development. This study aims to explore the effect and possible mechanism of miR-34a on neuron
apoptosis induced by Spinal Cord Injury (SCI).
Materials and Methods: SCI model was established using Allen's weight-drop method and rats in
the sham group were performed with laminectomy without weight-drop injury. Basso Bcattie
Bresnahan (BBB) rating scale was applied to evaluate the locomotor function of rats. Pathological
changes of spinal cord tissues in SCI rats were observed after hematoxylin and eosin (HE) staining.
Rats were separately injected with miR-34a agomir, miR-34a agomir NC, si-CD47 and si-
CD47 NC before their spinal cord tissues were collected for terminal-deoxynucleoitidyl Transferase
Mediated nick end labeling (TUNEL) staining. Expressions of miR-34a, si-CD47, apoptosis
related proteins and AKT pathway related proteins were measured by quantitative reverse transcription-
polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and western blot.
Results: SCI rat models were successfully established evidenced by decreased BBB scores and HE
staining. Injection of miR-34a agomir and/or si-CD47 could suppress neuron cell apoptosis, with
deceased apoptotic index (AI) and pro-apoptotic protein (cleaved caspase-3 and Bax) levels, and
increased expressions of anti-apoptotic proteins (Bcl-2 and Mcl-1). Phosphorylated levels of phatidylinositol
3-kinase (PI3K) and AKT were further increased in rats injected with miR-34a agomir
and si-CD47, compared with miR-34a agomir or si-CD47 injection alone.
Conclusion: MiR-34a can downregulate CD47 expression to activate PI3K/AKT signal pathway,
and thus inhibit SCI induced spinal neuron apoptosis.