The functions and molecular mechanism of circRNAs in the development of radiation-induced liver disease (RILD) remain largely unknown. The goal of this study was to explore the expression and potential role of a new circular RNA, named circTUBD1, in irradiated and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated human hepatic stellate cell (HSC) line LX-2 cells. The expression of circTUBD1 was significantly upregulated in irradiated and LPS-stimulated LX-2 cells compared to non-treated LX-2 cells. To explore the functions of circTUBD1, small interfering RNAs targeting circTUBD1 were designed. Silencing circTUBD1 inhibited proliferation, promoted apoptosis of LX-2 cells, and significantly decreased the expression level of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α in irradiated and LPS-stimulated LX-2 cells. Mechanistic analysis suggested that circTUBD1 acted as the miR-146a-5p sponge to affect pro-inflammatory cytokine production through regulating expression of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), interleukin receptor-associated kinase 1 (IRAK1), tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor-6 (TRAF6), and phosphorylation of nuclear factor-kappa B (pNF-κB) in irradiated and LPS-stimulated LX-2 cells. To our knowledge, this is the first study to show that circTUBD1 acts as a miR-146a-5p sponge to affect the viability and pro-inflammatory cytokine production of LX-2 cells through the TLR4 pathway, suggesting that circTUBD1 is a potential target for RILD therapy.
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Vol. 193 • No. 4