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  • microRNA 126 inhibits the transition of endothelial progenitor cells to mesenchymal cells via the PIK3R2-PI3K/Akt signalling pathway.

microRNA 126 inhibits the transition of endothelial progenitor cells to mesenchymal cells via the PIK3R2-PI3K/Akt signalling pathway.

PloS one (2013-12-19)
Junfeng Zhang, Zongqi Zhang, David Y Zhang, Jianbing Zhu, Tiantian Zhang, Changqian Wang
ABSTRACT

Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are capable of proliferating and differentiating into mature endothelial cells, and they have been considered as potential candidates for coronary heart disease therapy. However, the transition of EPCs to mesenchymal cells is not fully understood. This study aimed to explore the role of microRNA 126 (miR-126) in the endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndMT) induced by transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFβ1). EndMT of rat bone marrow-derived EPCs was induced by TGFβ1 (5 ng/mL) for 7 days. miR-126 expression was depressed in the process of EPC EndMT. The luciferase reporter assay showed that the PI3K regulatory subunit p85 beta (PIK3R2) was a direct target of miR-126 in EPCs. Overexpression of miR-126 by a lentiviral vector (lenti-miR-126) was found to downregulate the mRNA expression of mesenchymal cell markers (α-SMA, sm22-a, and myocardin) and to maintain the mRNA expression of progenitor cell markers (CD34, CD133). In the cellular process of EndMT, there was an increase in the protein expression of PIK3R2 and the nuclear transcription factors FoxO3 and Smad4; PI3K and phosphor-Akt expression decreased, a change that was reversed markedly by overexpression of miR-126. Furthermore, knockdown of PIK3R2 gene expression level showed reversed morphological changes of the EPCs treated with TGFβ1, thereby giving the evidence that PIK3R2 is the target gene of miR-126 during EndMT process. These results show that miR-126 targets PIK3R2 to inhibit EPC EndMT and that this process involves regulation of the PI3K/Akt signalling pathway. miR-126 has the potential to be used as a biomarker for the early diagnosis of intimal hyperplasia in cardiovascular disease and can even be a therapeutic tool for treating cardiovascular diseases mediated by the EndMT process.

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Anti-Actin Antibody, smooth muscle, clone ASM-1, clone ASM-1, Chemicon®, from mouse