MicroRNA-21 regulates peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor alpha, a molecular mechanism of cardiac pathology in Cardiorenal Syndrome Type 4

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


External Institution(s)

  • Medical College of Wisconsin


Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-389
Number of pages15
JournalKidney international
Issue number2
StatusPublished - Feb 2018


Cardiovascular events are the leading cause of death in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), although the pathological mechanisms are poorly understood. Here we longitudinally characterized left ventricle pathology in a 5/6 nephrectomy rat model of CKD and identify novel molecular mediators. Next-generation sequencing of left ventricle mRNA and microRNA (miRNA) was performed at physiologically distinct points in disease progression, identifying alterations in genes in numerous immune, lipid metabolism, and inflammatory pathways, as well as several miRNAs. MiRNA miR-21-5p was increased in our dataset and has been reported to regulate many identified pathways. Suppression of miR-21-5p protected rats with 5/6 nephrectomy from developing left ventricle hypertrophy and improved left ventricle function. Next-generation mRNA sequencing revealed that miR-21-5p suppression altered gene expression in peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor alpha (PPARα) regulated pathways in the left ventricle. PPARα a miR-21-5p target, is the primary PPAR isoform in the heart, importantly involved in regulating fatty acid metabolism. Therapeutic delivery of low-dose PPARα agonist (clofibrate) to rats with 5/6 nephrectomy improved cardiac function and prevented left ventricle dilation. Thus, comprehensive characterization of left ventricle molecular changes highlights the involvement of numerous signaling pathways not previously explored in CKD models and identified PPARα as a potential therapeutic target for CKD-related cardiac dysfunction.

    Research areas

  • cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, inflammation, renal pathology