Glioma is the most common and fatal primary brain tumor. Thus far, therapeutic strategies to efficiently and specifically antagonize glioma are limited and poorly developed. Here we report that glia-enriched miR-135a, a microRNA that is dramatically downregulated in malignant glioma and correlated with the pathological grading, is capable of inducing mitochondria-dependent apoptosis of malignant glioma by regulating various genes including STAT6, SMAD5 and BMPR2, as well as affecting the signaling pathway downstream. Moreover, this lethal effect is selectively towards malignant glioma cells, but not neurons and glial cells, through a novel mechanism. Our findings suggest an important role of miR-135a in glioma etiology and provide a potential candidate for malignant glioma therapy.
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