Growth Hormone-Regulated mRNAs and miRNAs in Chicken Hepatocytes

Abstract

Growth hormone (GH) is a key regulatory factor in animal growth, development and metabolism. Based on the expression level of the GH receptor, the chicken liver is a major target organ of GH, but the biological effects of GH on the chicken liver are not fully understood. In this work we identified mRNAs and miRNAs that are regulated by GH in primary hepatocytes from female chickens through RNA-seq, and analyzed the functional relevance of these mRNAs and miRNAs through GO enrichment analysis and miRNA target prediction. A total of 164 mRNAs were found to be differentially expressed between GH-treated and control chicken hepatocytes, of which 112 were up-regulated and 52 were down-regulated by GH. A total of 225 chicken miRNAs were identified by the RNA-Seq analysis. Among these miRNAs 16 were up-regulated and 1 miRNA was down-regulated by GH. The GH-regulated mRNAs were mainly involved in growth and metabolism. Most of the GH-upregulated or GH-downregulated miRNAs were predicted to target the GH-downregulated or GH-upregulated mRNAs, respectively, involved in lipid metabolism. This study reveals that GH regulates the expression of many mRNAs involved in metabolism in female chicken hepatocytes, which suggests that GH plays an important role in regulating liver metabolism in female chickens. The results of this study also support the hypothesis that GH regulates lipid metabolism in chicken liver in part by regulating the expression of miRNAs that target the mRNAs involved in lipid metabolism.

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