Long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) VIM Antisense RNA 1 (VIM-AS1) has been reported to be correlated with type 2 diabetes (T2D) susceptibility, while the roles of this lncRNA in T2D and its complications remain unclear. This study aimed to explore the role of VIM-AS1 in diabetic retinopathy (DR).
Gene expression levels in both human specimens and in vitro cultivated cells were determined by qPCR and western blot. Overexpression experiments were performed to analyze gene interactions. Cell apoptosis after transfections was detected by cell apoptosis assay.
We found that VIM-AS1 was significantly downregulated in T2D patients in comparison with that in healthy controls. Specifically, the expression levels of VIM-AS1 were lowest among T2D patients complicated with DR. Bioinformatics analysis showed that VIM-AS1 can interact with microRNA 29 (miR-29), which is a critical player in high glucose-induced apoptosis of human retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPEs). Dual-luciferase assay also revealed the direct interaction between them. High glucose treatment led to upregulated miR-29 and downregulated VIM-AS1. However, overexpression of VIM-AS1 and miR-29 did not affect the expression of each other. Cell apoptosis analysis showed that overexpression of VIM-AS1 reduced the enhancing effects of miR-29 overexpression on RPEs cell proliferation.
Therefore, VIM-AS1 may sponge miR-29 to participate in DR.