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Original Research

Open Access

miR-20a attenuates acute lung injury in septic rats via targeting TLR4

  • Shuping Li1
  • Yang Sun1
  • Xingming Tang2
  • Li Wang2
  • Xiaoyuan Cheng1

1Department of Emergency, the First Affiliated Hospital of Chengdu Medical College, 610000 Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

2Department of Anesthesiology, the First Affiliated Hospital of Chengdu Medical College, 610000 Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

DOI: 10.22514/sv.2021.097 Vol.17,Issue 4,July 2021 pp.157-162

Submitted: 05 March 2021 Accepted: 12 April 2021

Published: 08 July 2021

*Corresponding Author(s): Li Wang E-mail:


Background: Sepsis is most likely to cause lung damage in patients, and the detection rate and mortality rate are high. Here, we investigated the expression of miR-20a in sepsis-induced acute lung injury (ALI) rats and its effect on inflammatory response, and reveal its possible molecular mechanism.

Method: The model of acute lung injury caused by sepsis in rats was established by cecal ligation and puncture. The expression of miR-20a in lung tissue was determined by RT-qPCR. Acute lung injury rats were injected with 5 nmol miR-20a agomir or agomir NC every day for 3 days. Rats were sacrificed by arterial bleeding and lung tissues were removed. Serum interleukin (IL) -1β, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) were detected by ELISA. HE staining was used to observe the pathology of lung tissue and calculate the pathological score of lung injury. Western blot to determine the level of TLR4 and nuclear transcription factor κB p65 (NF-κB p65) protein in lung tissue. The luciferase reporter assay was used to verify the binding effect of miR-20a on the 3 non-coding TLR4.

Results: We found that compared with that in Normal group, the expression of miR-20a in lung tissues of rats with ALI was decreased (p < 0.05). In miR-20a agomir group, the plasma level of IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α was significantly lower than that in agomir NC group and ALI group (p < 0.05), while higher than those in Normal group (p < 0.05). The HE staining results showed that the pathological score of lung injury in rats in miR-20a agomir group was lower than that of agomir NC group and ALI group (p < 0.05). Compared with agomir NC group and ALI group, the expression of TLR4 and NF-κB p65 in miR-20a agomir group was decreased (p < 0.01). The luciferase reporting experiment confirmed that TLR4 was a target gene of miR-20a.

Conclusion: To sum up, miR-20a exerts a protective effect on sepsis-induced ALI rats through its anti-inflammatory effect. The targeting of TLR4 by miR-20a may be an effective method to reduce the inflammatory response in sepsis-induced ALI.


Sepsis; Acute lung injury; miR-20a; TLR4

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Shuping Li,Yang Sun,Xingming Tang,Li Wang,Xiaoyuan Cheng. miR-20a attenuates acute lung injury in septic rats via targeting TLR4. Signa Vitae. 2021. 17(4);157-162.


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