Cardiac injections of AntagomiRs as a novel tool for knockdown of miRNAs during heart development

Johannes G. Wittig, Martina Billmeier, Estefanía Lozano-Velasco, Miguel Robles García, Andrea E. Münsterberg (Lead Author)

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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Studying microRNA networks during heart development is essential to obtain a better understanding of developmental defects and diseases associated with the heart and to identify novel opportunities for therapeutics. Here we highlight the advantages of chicken embryos as a vertebrate model for studying intermediate processes of heart development. Avians develop a four-chambered heart closely resembling human anatomy and they develop ex utero, which makes them easily accessible. Furthermore, embryos are available all year with a steady supply.
In this report we established a novel method for the knockdown of microRNA function by microinjecting AntagomiRs into the chicken heart in ovo. Our approach enables the targeted delivery of antagomirs into a locally restricted area and is not impacted by circulation. After further embryo development the successful miRNA knockdown was confirmed. Loss of function phenotypes can be evaluated rapidly, compared to more time-consuming genetic ablation experiments. The local application avoids potential systemic effects of microRNA knockdown, therefore allowing the assessment of impacts on heart development only. The method can be adjusted for different stages of chicken embryos (HH13-HH18) as well as for knockdown or targeted overexpression of coding genes.
In conclusion our method allows targeted and locally restricted delivery of Antagomirs to the heart leading to successful knockdown of microRNA function. This method enables rapid phenotypic assessment, for example by gene expression analysis of multiple cardiac genes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-169
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
Early online date26 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2019


  • AntagomiR
  • Chicken embryo
  • Heart development
  • MicroRNA
  • Microinjection
  • Micromanipulation

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