Research Paper Volume 12, Issue 12 pp 12107—12118

MiR-126 promotes esophageal squamous cell carcinoma via inhibition of apoptosis and autophagy

Mingli Li1, , Xiangli Meng2, , Mingxuan Li2, ,

  • 1 Department of Life Science and Engineering, Jining University, Qufu, Shandong, China
  • 2 Department of Nursing, Affiliated Hospital of Jining Medical University, Jining, Shandong, China

Received: January 9, 2020       Accepted: April 14, 2020       Published: June 18, 2020
How to Cite

Copyright © 2020 Li et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


MiRNA-126 (miR-126) has been shown to be involved in various malignancies as well as other biological processes. However, currently, its role in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is not well understood. The present study is focused on the mechanisms that underlie the effect of miR-126 on cell survival and death (apoptosis and autophagy) in ESCC cells. MiR-126 expression was found to be enhanced in ESCC cells and tissues. Downregulation of miR-126 suppressed cell survival, and TUNEL staining indicated that miR-126 inhibition promoted ESCC cell death. In addition, the production of LC3B and p62 proteins, two autophagy signals, was reduced following miR-126 inhibition. A dual luciferase reporter assay demonstrated that the STAT3 3’-UTR is a direct target of miR-126. Furthermore, STAT3 knock-down rescued the effects on autophagy and apoptosis caused by miR-126 inhibition in ESCC cells. The results of this study may provide some insight into the molecular and biological mechanisms underlying ESCC generation and contribute to the development of novel therapeutic approaches for ESCC.


EC: esophageal cancer; ESCC: esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; miRs: microRNAs; miR-126: miRNA-126; NSCLC: non-small-cell lung cancer; VEGF: vascular endothelial growth factor; HCC: hepatocellular carcinoma; KD: knock-down; NC: negative control; IEN: intra-epithelial neoplasia; WB: western blotting; CFA: colony formation assay; PI: propidium iodide; FC: flow cytometry; DLRA: dual luciferase reporter assay; IFA: immunofluorescence assay..