Ablation of Argonaute 2 in Schwann cells accelerates the progression of diabetic peripheral neuropathy

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Schwann cells (SCs) form myelin and provide metabolic support for axons, and are essential for normal nerve function. Identification of key molecules specific to SCs and nerve fibers may provide new therapeutic targets for diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN). Argonaute2 (Ago2) is a key molecular player that mediates the activity of miRNA-guided mRNA cleavage and miRNA stability. Our study found that Ago2 knockout (Ago2-KO) in proteolipid protein (PLP) lineage SCs in mice resulted in a significant reduction of nerve conduction velocities and impairments of thermal and mechanical sensitivities. Histopathological data revealed that Ago2-KO significantly induced demyelination and neurodegeneration. When DPN was induced in both wild-type and Ago2-KO mice, Ago2-KO mice exhibited further decreased myelin thickness and exacerbated neurological outcomes compared with wild-type mice. Deep sequencing analysis of Ago2 immunoprecipitated complexes showed that deregulated miR-206 in Ago2-KO mice is highly related to mitochondrial function. In vitro data showed that knockdown of miR-200 induced mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis in SCs. Together, our data suggest that Ago2 in SCs is essential to maintain peripheral nerve function while ablation of Ago2 in SCs exacerbates SC dysfunction and neuronal degeneration in DPN. These findings provide new insight into the molecular mechanisms of DPN.

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ePub ahead of print