Xiaoyi Yuan, Ph.D.

Xiaoyi Yuan, Ph.D.

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Evaluating Role of MicroRNA as Therapeutic Target for ARDS

Approximately 200,000 patients develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) annually in the United States, leading to 75,000 deaths. In ARDS, fluid leaks into the lungs, making breathing difficult or impossible. There are no effective treatment or prevention strategies for this deadly disease. We have found that a group of small gene pieces called microRNAs are crucial molecules in changing the levels of inflammation in lung injury. We will study the role of a microRNA called miR-147 in lung inflammation in ARDS. We will evaluate whether these small genes can be targeted for ARDS treatment safely and efficiently in preclinical studies. Our study will lay the groundwork for novel therapeutic approaches for treating patients with ARDS.


So far, we have identified a crucial role of miR-147 during acute lung injury. In a mouse model of ARDS, miR-147 deletion results in a profound increase in lung injury and inflammation. Additionally, a preclinical study in mice showed a promising effect of miR-147 overexpression in attenuating lung injury. By further understanding the mechanism of miR-147 mediated lung protection, our studies are designed to lay the groundwork for novel therapeutic approaches for treating patients with ARDS to improve overall patient outcomes. Successful completion of this study will facilitate the development of microRNA-based therapy as the treatment of ARDS. 

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