Arginine alters miRNA expression involved in development and proliferation of rat mammary tissue

Gang Zhou, Qiaoyun Xu, Feifan Wu, Mengzhi Wang, Lianmin Chen, Liangyu Hu, Jingwen Zhao, Juan J. Loor, Jun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study was designed to determine the effects of dietary arginine on development and proliferation in rat mammary tissue through changes in miRNA profiles. Twelve pregnant Wistar rats were allocated randomly to two groups. A basal diet containing arginine or the control diet containing glutamate on an equal nitrogen basis as the arginine supplemented diet were used. The experiment included a pre-experimental period of four days before parturition and an experimental period of 17 days after parturition. Mammary tissue was collected for histology, RNA extraction and high-throughput sequencing analysis. The greater mammary acinar area indicated that arginine supplementation enhanced mammary tissue development (p < 0.01). MicroRNA profiling indicated that seven miRNA (miR-206-3p, miR-133a-5p, miR-133b-3p, miR-1-3p, miR-133a-3p, miR-1b and miR-486) were differentially expressed in response to Arginine when compared with the glutamate-based control group. In silico gene ontology enrichment and KEGG pathway analysis revealed between 240 and 535 putative target genes among the miRNA. Further verification by qPCR revealed concordance with the differential expression from the sequencing results: 17 of 28 target genes were differentially expressed (15 were highly expressed in arginine and 2 in control) and 11 target genes did not have significant difference in expression. In conclusion, our study suggests that arginine may potentially regulate the development of rat mammary glands through regulating miRNAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number535
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Arginine
  • Mammary
  • MiRNAs
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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