In their study, TUNEL and FCM assays were used to detect CLAs-induced adipocyte apoptosis. Microarray service was used to compare the differential expression of miRNAs. MiR-23a, a miRNA that showed significant changes in expression in the CLA-treated cells, was selected for the subsequent functional studies via over-expression and knock down in in vivo and in vitro experiments.
Investigators found that C9, t11-CLA exhibited a stronger induction of apoptosis in the differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes than t10, c12-CLA. However, t10, c12-CLA could rapidly activate NF-κB, which may have caused their different apoptotic effects. MiR-23a was markedly down-regulated by the CLAs treatment and miR-23a over-expression attenuated CLA-induced apoptosis. Apoptosis protease-activating factor 1 (APAF1) was identified as a target gene of miR-23a.
Taken together, these results suggest that miR-23a plays a critical role in CLA-induced apoptosis in adipocytes via controlling APAF1 expression.