Background: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a common complication of
diabetes. This study investigated the effect of miR-7 in the regulation of cell proliferation
via the HoxB3 gene and PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathways in DR.
Methods: Human retinal pigment epithelial cell line (ARPE-19) cultured in normal
medium (Control) and high glucose medium (25mM glucose, HG) was transfected with
mimics NC (HG+ mimics NC), miR-7 mimics (HG+miR-7 mimics), inhibitor NC (HG+
inhibitor NC), and miR-inhibitor (HG+miR-7 inhibitor). The cells were assayed for
viability, apoptosis, and expression of genes.
Results: HG reduced cell viability and increased apoptosis. However, miR-7 mimics
reduced the apoptosis. PCR results showed that miR-7 was significantly upregulated
after transfection with miR-7 mimics. The expression of Hoxb3, mTOR, p-PI3K, and p-
AKT was significantly downregulated at mRNA and protein levels after miR-7 mimics
transfection, while no difference was observed for PI3K and AKT expression.
Conclusion: Our findings demonstrate that miR-7 regulates the growth of retinal
epithelial cells through various pathways and is a potential therapeutic target for the
prevention and treatment of diabetic retinopathy.