Image_1_Comparative Transcriptome Analyses of Geriatric Rats Associate Age-Related Erectile Dysfunction With a lncRNA-miRNA-mRNA Regulatory Network.tif
The key regulatory roles of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in age-related erectile dysfunction (A-ED) are unknown.Aim
This study aimed to identify putative lncRNAs that regulate age-related erectile dysfunction via transcriptome analyses, and to predict their specific regulatory routes via bioinformatics methods.Methods
22 geriatric male SD rats were divided into age-related erectile dysfunction (A-ED) and negative control (NC) groups after evaluations of intracavernous pressure (ICP). By comparative analysis of transcriptomes of cavernosal tissues from both groups, we identified differentially expressed lncRNAs, miRNAs, and mRNAs. Seven differentially expressed lncRNAs were selected and further verified by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reactions (RT-qPCR). The construction of the lncRNA-miRNA-mRNA network, the Gene Ontology (GO) term enrichment, and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis were performed in Cytoscape.Results
From comparative transcriptome analyses of A-ED and NC groups, 69, 29, and 364 differentially expressed lncRNAs, miRNAs, and mRNAs were identified respectively. Differentially expressed lncRNAs were culled to seven, which were all verified by qPCR. Three of these lncRNAs (ENSRNOT00000090050, ENSRNOT00000076482, and ENSRNOT00000029245) were used to build regulatory networks, of which only ENSRNOT00000029245 was successful. Moreover, GO and KEGG analyses demonstrated that these lncRNAs possibly regulated muscle myosin complex, muscle cell cellular homeostasis, and ultimately erectile function in rats through PI3K-Akt, fluid shear stress, and atherosclerosis pathways.Conclusion
Our study identified differentially expressed lncRNAs, miRNAs, and mRNAs through comparisons of transcriptomes of geriatric rats. An identified lncRNA verified by qPCR, was used to construct a lncRNA-miRNA-mRNA regulatory network. LncRNA ENSRNOT00000029245 possibly regulated downstream mRNAs through this regulatory network, leading to apoptosis in the cavernous tissue, fibrosis, and endothelial dysfunction, which ultimately caused ED. These findings provide seminal insights into the molecular biology of aging-related ED, which could spur the development of effective therapeutics.