In a recent exemplar of medical research, a pivotal study has brought to light the dynamic role of microRNA (miRNA) in regulating cancer cell proliferation, setting a breakthrough in colon cancer therapeutics. The study entitled “miR-129-2-3p inhibits colon cancer cell proliferation by down-regulating the expression of BZW1,” authored by a team of prominent researchers from the Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery at Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital, associated with Nanjing University Medical School, has been published in the esteemed Arab Journal of Gastroenterology. The findings serve as a promising beacon against the commandeering proliferation of cancer cells through innovative gene-targeted therapeutic strategies.

The Intricate Web of miRNA and Colon Cancer

MicroRNA, often abbreviated as miRNA, are small non-coding RNA molecules, known for their function in regulating gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. These molecules play critical roles in a variety of biological processes and have previously been associated with the development and progression of different types of tumors.

The study under spotlight investigates the intricacies of miR-129-2-3p, a specific microRNA that has recently been recognized for its pivotal effects in various tumors’ pathogenesis. Until the publication of this research, the function of miR-129-2-3p in colon cancer remained relatively unexplored. With an intention to unravel its role, the research team under the guidance of Tao Liang, Peng Song, and contributed by Lihua Shao, Hengfei Gao, Kangkang Ji, Yan Ren, Feng Wang, and Meng Wang embarked on a mission to study its influence in the proliferation, apoptosis, migration, and invasion of colon cancer cells.

Empirical Findings: miR-129-2-3p as a Cancer-inhibiting Agent

The study applied RT-qPCR (reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction) to measure the levels of miR-129-2-3p in colon cancer tissues. The down-regulation of miR-129-2-3p indicated a substantial correlation with the cancerous proliferation. Delving into the mechanistic aspects, the team identified the targets of miR-129-2-3p through bioinformatics. BZW1, which emerged as a direct target of miR-129-2-3p, has been a gene associated with protein synthesis and previously linked to tumor progression.

Using luciferase reporter assays, the researchers validated that BZW1 gene is indeed a direct target of miR-129-2-3p. The fine-tuning interaction between the two was further investigated through an array of assays including CCK-8, colony formation, transwell chamber tests, wound healing, and flow cytometry, which collectively enlightened the influence of miR-129-2-3p on colon cancer.

The study’s landmark observation was the substantiation of miR-129-2-3p’s inhibitory effects on cell proliferation, colony formation, and cellular mobility. More critically, miR-129-2-3p-induced overexpression yielded an actionable increase in cellular apoptosis, significantly impeding tumor growth.

Bringing the Lab to Life: Experiments with Xenografts

To scale the findings from in vitro to in vivo, the team facilitated xenograft experiments where Lovo cells transfected with miR-129-2-3p were subcutaneously injected into nude mice. The magnitude of the impact of miR-129-2-3p overexpression was observed with a quantitative decrease in BZW1 expression, which directly translated into a suppression in tumor growth.

The confluence of these profound results posits miR-129-2-3p as a critical component in the arsenal against colon cancer and suggests a promising therapeutic pathway that targets the miRNA for halting cancer progression.

Conclusion and Therapeutic Implications

The study concludes with the powerful indication that miR-129-2-3p exerts a suppressive role in colon cancer cells by directly targeting BZW1, highlighting the potential of miR-129-2-3p as a novel agent for therapeutic intervention in patients with colon cancer.

Copyright © 2023 Pan-Arab Association of Gastroenterology. All rights reserved.

Publication Details & DOI

This detailed study can be accessed in the Arab Journal of Gastroenterology, Volume 25, Issue 1, 2024, with the DOI: 10.1016/j.ajg.2023.11.005.

Acknowledgment of Contributors

The groundbreaking work was executed at the Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital, under the affiliate umbrella of Nanjing University Medical School, with esteemed contributions from Tao Liang, Peng Song, Lihua Shao, Hengfei Gao, Kangkang Ji, Yan Ren, Feng Wang, and Meng Wang.

Ethical Transparency

To maintain ethical transparency, all the authors declared no competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have been perceived to influence the work reported in this paper, upholding the integrity of their contributions.


1. Arab Journal of Gastroenterology – Volume 25, Issue 1, 2024.
2. RT-qPCR and Its Role in Identifying Gene Expression. Nature Methods.
3. Bioinformatics in miRNA Target Identification. Computational Biology and Chemistry.
4. In Vivo Experimental Models for Evaluating Anti-tumoral Agents. Cancer Research.
5. Current Therapeutic Approaches in Targeting MicroRNA Mechanisms. Trends in Molecular Medicine.


1. Colon Cancer miRNA Therapy
2. miR-129-2-3p Gene Targeting
3. BZW1 in Cancer Progression
4. Non-coding RNA Cancer Research
5. MicroRNA Clinical Applications