BACKGROUND Codonopsis pilosula is a traditional Chinese medicine that has an anti-aging effect. However, the anti-aging effect of Codonopsis pilosula on the lungs remains largely unknown, and the molecular mechanism also needs to be further studied. Thus, we investigated the protective effect of Codonopsis pilosula on the lungs of aging mice, and explored the underlying molecular mechanism. MATERIAL AND METHODS We established an aging mouse model and then treated the mice with Codonopsis pilosula. Microarray analysis and bioinformatics methods were used to comprehensively analyze the lncRNA-miRNA-mRNA (ceRNA) network. RESULTS Our results showed that we successfully established the aging mouse model. The microarray analysis showed that 138 lncRNAs, 128 mRNAs, and 7 miRNAs were significantly changed after aging, and 282 lncRNAs, 283 mRNAs, and 19 miRNAs were dysregulated after treatment with Codonopsis pilosula. To explore the signaling pathways involved, KEGG pathway analysis was performed. Compared with the ceRNA network in aging mice and after treatment with Codonopsis pilosula, we found that 3 mRNAs (Hif3a, Zbtb16, Plxna2) and 1 lncRNA (NONMMUT063872) were associated with the anti-aging effect of Codonopsis pilosula and they were validated by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis. CONCLUSIONS Our results showed that Codonopsis pilosula has a protective effect on the aging lung, and the ceRNA network plays an important role in the anti-aging effect of Codonopsis pilosula.
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