Background/purpose: Oral submucous fibrosis (OSF) is an oral precancerous disorder associated with the habit of areca nut chewing. MiR-10b has been shown to be upregulated in the oral cancer cells and induced by Twist. Our previous work has revealed that Twist participated in the pathogenesis of OSF and therefore we aimed to investigate whether Twist/miR-10b axis was involved in the activation of myofibroblast in the oral cavity. Methods: The expression levels of miR-10b in OSF tissues and fibrotic buccal mucosal fibroblasts (fBMFs) were examined. Besides, the expression of miR-10b was determined in fBMFs following knockdown of Twist or in BMFs after arecoline stimulation. Myofibroblast activities, including collagen gel contraction, migration and wound healing abilities, as well as the expression of α-SMA were measured in fBMFs treated with miR-10b inhibitor. Last, we investigated whether the effect of Twist overexpression could be reversed by suppression of miR-10b. Results: MiR-10b expression was overexpressed in both OSF tissues and fBMFs. The silence of Twist resulted in the downregulation of miR-10b in fBMFs and arecoline treatment led to an increase of miR-10b in a dose-dependent manner. Inhibition of miR-10b ameliorated the activation of myofibroblasts and the expression of α-SMA. Moreover, we demonstrated that suppression of miR-10b hindered the increased collagen gel contraction caused by Twist overexpression. Conclusion: MiR-10b upregulation in OSF may be due to the stimulation of areca nut, leading to elevated myofibroblast activation. Our findings showed that the areca nut-induced expression of miR-10b was under the regulation of Twist and inhibition of miR-10b may provide a direction for treatment of OSF.
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