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Keywords:

  • anticancer effect;
  • breast cancer;
  • gene expression profiling;
  • melatonin;
  • microRNA

Abstract:  MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, noncoding RNAs that play a crucial role in regulation of gene expression. Recent studies have shown that miRNAs implicated in initiation and progression of various human cancers, including breast cancer and also analysis of miRNA expression profiles in cancer provide new insights into potential mechanisms of carcinogenesis. Melatonin, N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, is synthesized by the pineal gland in response to the dark/light cycle and has been known to act as a synchronizer of the biological clock. Melatonin has a variety of therapeutic effects, such as immunomodulatory actions, anti-inflammatory effects, and antioxidant actions. Furthermore, melatonin is reported to have an anticancer function including suppression of the metabolism of tumor cells and induction of tumor suppressor genes in cancer cells, including breast cancer cells. In this study, we determined whether miRNAs play a role in regulation of various gene expression responses to melatonin in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. We examined whole-genome miRNA and mRNA expression and found that 22 miRNAs were differentially expressed in melatonin-treated MCF-7 cells. We further identified a number of mRNAs whose expression level shows a high inverse correlation with miRNA expression. The Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analysis and pathways analysis were performed for identification of the signaling pathways and biological processes affected by differential expression of miRNA and miRNA-related genes. Our findings suggested that melatonin may modulate miRNA and gene expression as an anticancer mechanism in human breast cancer cells.