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Analysis of Serum microRNA Expression Profiles and Comparison with Small Intestinal microRNA Expression Profiles in Weaned Piglets

posted on 15.09.2016, 17:30 by Xin Tao, Ziwei Xu, Xiaoming Men

Weaning stress induces tissue injuries and impairs health and growth in piglets, especially during the first week post-weaning. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play vital roles in regulating stresses and diseases. Our previous study found multiple differentially expressed miRNAs in small intestine of piglets at four days post-weaning. To better understand the roles of miRNAs during weaning stress, we analyzed the serum miRNA expressional profile in weaned piglets (at four days post-weaning) and in suckling piglets (control) of the same age using miRNA microarray technology. We detected a total of 300 expressed miRNAs, 179 miRNAs of which were differentially expressed between the two groups. The miRNA microarray results were validated by RT-qPCR. The biological functions of these differentially expressed miRNAs were predicted by GO terms and KEGG pathway annotations. We identified 10 highly expressed miRNAs in weaned piglets including miR-31, miR-205, and miR-21 (upregulated) and miR-144, miR-30c-5p, miR-363, miR-194a, miR-186, miR-150, and miR-194b-5p (downregulated). Additionally, miR-194b-5p expression was significantly downregulated in serum and small intestine of weaned piglets. Our results suggest that weaning stress affects serum miRNA profiles in piglets. And serum miR-194b-5p levels can reflect its expressional changes in small intestine of piglets by weaning stress.