Objective:To investigate the effects of social isolation on oral mucosal healing in rats, and to determine if wound-associated genes and microRNAs (miRNAs) may contribute to this response.Methods:Rats were group housed or socially isolated for 4 weeks before a 3.5 mm wound was placed on the hard oral palate. Wound closure was assessed daily and tissues were collected for determination of gene expression levels and miRNAs (i.e., miR-29a,b,c and miR-203). The predicted target of these microRNAs (i.e., vascular endothelial growth factor A, VEGFA) was functionally validated.Results:Social isolation stress delayed the healing process of oral palatal mucosal wounds in rats. Lower mRNA levels of interleukin-1β (IL1β), macrophage inflammatory protein-1α (MIP1α), fibroblast growth factor 7 (FGF7), and VEGFA were found in the biopsied tissues of isolated animals on days 1 and/or 3 post-wounding. Intriguingly, the isolated rats persistently exhibited higher levels of miR-29 family members and miR-203. Our results confirmed that VEGFA is a direct target of these miRNAs, as both miR-29a,c and miR-203 strongly and specifically suppressed endogenous VEGFA expression in vitro.Conclusions:This study in rats demonstrates for the first time that social isolation delays oral mucosal healing, and suggests a potential role for healing-associated gene and miRNA interactions during this process via modulation of VEGF expression.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)