There has been fast growing evidence showing that glycolysis plays a critical role in the activation of immune cells. Enhanced glycolysis leads to increased formation of intracellular lactate that is exported to the extracellular environment by monocarboxylate transporter 4 (MCT4). Although the biological activities of extracellular lactate have been well studied, it is less understood how the lactate export is regulated or if lactate export affects glycolysis during inflammatory activation. In this study, we found that MCT4 is upregulated by TLR2 and TLR4, but not TLR3 agonists in a variety of macrophages. The increased expression of MCT4 was mediated by MYD88 in a NF-?B dependent manner. Furthermore, we found that MCT4 is required for macrophage activation upon TLR2 and TLR4 stimulations, as evidenced by attenuated expression of pro-inflammatory mediators in macrophages with MCT4 knockdown. Mechanistically, we found that MCT4 knockdown leads to enhanced intracellular accumulation of lactate and decreased glycolysis in LPS treated macrophages. We found that LPS induced expression of key glycolytic enzymes hexokinase 2 (HK2) and 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-biphosphatase 3 (PFKFB3) is diminished in macrophages with MCT4 knockdown. Our data suggest that MCT4 upregulation represents a positive feedback mechanism in macrophages to maintain a high glycolytic rate that is essential to a fully activated inflammatory response.
Although microRNAs were shown to participate in innate immune responses, it is not completely understood how they regulate negative immunomodulatory events. IL-10 is an important anti-inflammatory mediator that prevents excessive inflammation and associated immunological pathologies. Although the regulation of IL-10 expression has been well studied at both the transcriptional and translational levels, it is less clear how microRNAs control IL-10 expression during inflammation. In this study, we found that miR-27a is downregulated in macrophages following stimulation through TLR2 and TLR4, but not TLR3. Upregulation of miR-27a enhanced the expression of proinflammatory cytokines in TLR2/4-activated macrophages. Conversely, knockdown of miR-27a diminished cytokine expression. Mechanistically, we found that miR-27a negatively regulates IL-10 expression; upregulation of miR-27a decreases, whereas downregulation of miR-27a increases, IL-10 expression in activated macrophages. Likely due to the decreased expression of IL-10, upregulation of miR-27a diminished IL-10-dependent STAT3 phosphorylation in TLR4-activated macrophages. Consistent with IL-10 being a potential mediator for the role of miR-27a in the immune response, blocking IL-10 abolished the enhancing effect of miR-27a on TLR4-activated inflammation. In conclusion, our study identified miR-27a downregulation as a negative-regulatory mechanism that prevents overly exuberant TLR2- and TLR4-driven inflammatory responses.
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), once thought to be transcriptional noise, have been recently shown to regulate a variety of biological processes. However, there is not much knowledge regarding their roles in the inflammatory response. In this study, we performed human lncRNA microarray assays and identified a number of lncRNAs that demonstrated altered expression in response to LPS stimulation. Of these lncRNAs, lnc-IL7R, which overlaps with the 3'untranslated region (3'UTR) of the human interleukin-7 receptor ?-subunit gene (IL7R) gene, was significantly upregulated in LPS-treated cells. Functionally, lnc-IL7R was capable of diminishing the LPS-induced inflammatory response, demonstrated by elevated expression of LPS-induced E-selectin, VCAM-1, IL-6, and IL-8 in lnc-IL7R knockdown cells. Mechanistically, we found that lnc-IL7R knockdown diminished trimethylation of histone H3 at lysine 27 (H3K27me3), a hallmark of silent transcription, at the proximal promoters of the inflammatory mediators. Our data suggest that lnc-IL7R contributes another layer of complexity in regulation of the inflammatory response.
Semaphorins are a large, phylogenetically conserved family of proteins that are involved in a wide range of biological processes including axonal steering, organogenesis, neoplastic transformation, as well as immune responses. In this study, a novel semaphorin homologue gene belonging to the Singapore grouper iridovirus (SGIV), ORF155R (termed SGIV-sema), was cloned and characterized. The coding region of SGIV-sema is 1728 bp in length, encoding a predicted protein with 575 aa. SGIV-sema contains a ~370 aa N-terminal Sema domain, a conserved plexin-semaphorin-integrin (PSI) domain, and an immunoglobulin (Ig)-like domain near the C terminus. SGIV-sema is an early gene product during viral infection and predominantly distributed in the cytoplasm with a speckled and clubbed pattern of appearance. Functionally, SGIV-sema could promote viral replication during SGIV infection in vitro, with no effect on the proliferation of host cells. Intriguingly, ectopically expressed SGIV-sema could alter the cytoskeletal structure of fish cells, characterized by a circumferential ring of microtubules near the nucleus and a disrupted microfilament organization. Furthermore, SGIV-sema was able to attenuate the cellular immune response, as demonstrated by decreased expression of inflammation/immune-related genes such as IL-8, IL-15, TNF-? and mediator of IRF3 activation (MITA), in SGIV-sema-expressing cells before and after SGIV infection. Ultimately, our study identified a novel, functional SGIV gene that could regulate cytoskeletal structure, immune responses and facilitate viral replication.
Macrophage activation is a central event in immune responses. Macrophages undergoing classical activation (M1 macrophages) are proinflammatory, whereas alternatively activated macrophages (M2 macrophages) are generally anti-inflammatory. miRNAs play important regulatory roles in inflammatory response. However, the manner in which miRNAs regulate macrophage activation in response to different environmental cues has not been well defined. In this study, we found that M-BMM macrophages (M2) express greater levels of miR-125a-5p than do GM-BMM macrophages (M1). Stimulation of macrophages through TLR2 and TLR4 but not through TLR3 enhanced miR-125a-5p expression. Up-regulation of miR-125a-5p after TLR2/4 activation requires the adaptor MYD88 but not TRIF. Overexpression of miR-125a-5p diminished M1 phenotype expression induced by LPS but promoted M2 marker expression induced by IL-4. In contrast, knockdown of miR-125a-5p promoted M1 polarization and diminished IL-4-induced M2 marker expression. We found that miR-125a-5p targets KLF13, a transcriptional factor that has an important role in T lymphocyte activation and inflammation. KLF13 knockdown had similar effects on M1 activation as did miR-125a-5p overexpression. In addition, miR-125a-5p regulates phagocytic and bactericidal activities of macrophages. Our data suggest that miR-125a-5p has an important role in suppressing classical activation of macrophages while promoting alternative activation.
Insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) play crucial roles in regulating cell differentiation, proliferation and apoptosis. In this study, a novel IGF homologue gene (IGF-like) encoded by Singapore grouper iridovirus (SGIV) ORF062R (termed SGIV-IGF), was cloned and characterized. The coding region of SGIV-IGF is 771 bp in length, with a variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) locus at the 3-end. We cloned one isoform of this novel gene, 582 bp in length, containing the predicted IGF domain and 3.6 copy numbers of the 27 bp repeat unit. SGIV-IGF was an early transcribed gene during viral infection, and SGIV-IGF was distributed predominantly in the cytoplasm with a diffused granular appearance. Intriguingly, overexpression of SGIV-IGF was able to promote the growth of grouper embryonic cells (GP cells) by promoting G1/S phase transition, which was at least partially dependent on its 3-end VNTR locus. Furthermore, viral titre assay and real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) analysis proved that SGIV-IGF could promote SGIV replication in grouper cells. In addition, overexpression of SGIV-IGF mildly facilitated apoptosis in SGIV-infected non-host fathead minnow (FHM) cells. Together, our study demonstrated a novel functional gene of SGIV which may regulate viral replication and cellular processes through multiple mechanisms that appear to be cell type-dependent.
Macrophages demonstrate a high level of plasticity, with the ability to undergo dynamic transition between M1 and M2 polarized phenotypes. The role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in regulating macrophage polarization has been largely undefined. In this study, we found that miRNA let-7c is expressed at a higher level in M-BMM (M2 macrophages) than in GM-BMM (M1 macrophages). let-7c levels are also greater in alveolar macrophages from fibrotic lungs as compared with those from normal lungs. let-7c expression was decreased when M-BMM converted to GM-BMM, whereas it increased when GM-BMM converted to M-BMM. LPS stimulation reduced let-7c expression in M-BMM. We found that overexpression of let-7c in GM-BMM diminished M1 phenotype expression while promoting polarization to the M2 phenotype. In contrast, knockdown of let-7c in M-BMM promoted M1 polarization and diminished M2 phenotype expression. We found that let-7c targets C/EBP-?, a transcriptional factor that plays an important role in inflammatory response. Furthermore, we found that let-7c regulates bactericidal and phagocytic activities of macrophages, two functional phenotypes implicated in macrophage polarization. Our data suggest that the miRNA let-7c plays an important role in regulating macrophage polarization.
The expression of smooth muscle actin-? (SMA-?) by fibroblasts defines phenotypic transition to myofibroblasts and is a primary contributor to contractile force generation by these differentiated cells. Although the regulation of SMA-? expression has been the focus of many studies, there is presently only limited information concerning miRNA regulation of lung myofibroblast differentiation and the involvement of these miRNAs in pulmonary fibrosis. To determine the role of miR-145 in regulating lung myofibroblast differentiation and pulmonary fibrosis. Wild-type and miR-145(-/-) mice were studied. Lung fibrosis models and cell culture systems were employed. miR-145 mimics or inhibitors were transfected into pulmonary fibroblasts. Fibrogenic and contractile activities of lung fibroblasts were determined. We found that miR-145 expression is upregulated in TGF-?1-treated lung fibroblasts. miR-145 expression is also increased in the lungs of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis as compared to in normal human lungs. Overexpression of miR-145 in lung fibroblasts increased SMA-? expression, enhanced contractility, and promoted formation of focal and fibrillar adhesions. In contrast, miR-145 deficiency diminished TGF-?1 induced SMA-? expression. miR-145 did not affect the activity of TGF-?1, but promoted the activation of latent TGF-?1. miR-145 targets KLF4, a known negative regulator of SMA-? expression. Finally, we found that miR-145(-/-) mice are protected from bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis. miR-145 plays an important role in the differentiation of lung myofibroblasts. miR-145 deficiency is protective against bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis, suggesting that miR-145 may be a potential target in the development of novel therapies to treat pathological fibrotic disorders.
Growing evidence demonstrates that various large DNA viruses could encode microRNAs (miRNAs) that regulate host and viral genes to achieve immune evasion. In this study, we report that miR-homoHSV, an miRNA encoded by Singapore grouper iridovirus (SGIV), can attenuate SGIV-induced cell death. Mechanistically, SGIV miR-homoHSV targets SGIV ORF136R, a viral gene that encodes the pro-apoptotic lipopolysaccharide-induced TNF-? (LITAF)-like factor. miR-homoHSV suppressed exogenous and endogenous SGIV LITAF expression, and thus inhibited SGIV LITAF-induced apoptosis. Meanwhile, miR-homoHSV expression was able to attenuate cell death induced by viral infection, presumably facilitating viral replication through the down-regulation of the pro-apoptotic gene SGIV LITAF. Together, our data suggest miR-homoHSV may serve as a feedback regulator of cell death during viral infection. The findings of this study provide a better understanding of SGIV replication and pathogenesis.
Orange-spotted grouper (Epinephelus coioides) is an economically important marine fish cultured in China and Southeast Asian countries. The emergence of infectious viral diseases, including iridovirus and betanodavirus, have severely affected food products based on this species, causing heavy economic losses. Limited available information on the genomics of E. coioides has hampered the understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie host-virus interactions. In this study, we used a 454 pyrosequencing method to investigate differentially-expressed genes in the spleen of the E. coioides infected with Singapore grouper iridovirus (SGIV).
Virus induced cell death, including apoptosis and nonapoptotic cell death, plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of viral diseases. Singapore grouper iridovirus (SGIV), a novel iridovirus of genus Ranavirus, causes high mortality and heavy economic losses in grouper aquaculture. Here, using fluorescence microscopy, electron microscopy and biochemical assays, we found that SGIV infection in host (grouper spleen, EAGS) cells evoked nonapoptotic programmed cell death (PCD), characterized by appearance of cytoplasmic vacuoles and distended endoplasmic reticulum, in the absence of DNA fragmentation, apoptotic bodies and caspase activation. In contrast, SGIV induced typical apoptosis in non-host (fathead minnow, FHM) cells, as evidenced by caspase activation and DNA fragmentation, suggesting that SGIV infection induced nonapoptotic cell death by a cell type dependent fashion. Furthermore, viral replication was essential for SGIV induced nonapoptotic cell death, but not for apoptosis. Notably, the disruption of mitochondrial transmembrane potential (??m) and externalization of phosphatidylserine (PS) were not detected in EAGS cells but in FHM cells after SGIV infection. Moreover, the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling was involved in SGIV infection induced nonapoptotic cell death and viral replication. This is a first demonstration of ERK-mediated nonapoptotic cell death induced by a DNA virus. These findings contribute to understanding the mechanisms of iridovirus pathogenesis.
Leukocyte cell-derived chemotaxin-2 (LECT2) is a multifunctional protein involved in cell growth, differentiation and autoimmunity. In this study, a new leukocyte cell-derived chemotaxin-2 (EcLECT2) gene was cloned from grouper, Epinephelus coioides, by rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) PCR. The full-length cDNA sequence of EcLECT2 was 595 bp in size, containing a 5-untranslated region (UTR) of 44 bp and a 3-UTR of 83 bp. The deduced protein sequence of the open reading frame (465 bp) showed highest similarity (81%) to the LECT2 of the fresh-water fish Larimichthys crocea. An abundant transcription of the determined EcLECT2 mRNA has been detected in liver and skin of grouper, E. coioides. Furthermore, the expression of EcLECT2 was differentially up-regulated in liver after infection with Staphyloccocus aureus, Vibrio vulnificus, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Singapore grouper iridovirus (SGIV), while the expression was down-regulated after stimulation with Concanavalin A (Con A). Recombinant mature EcLECT2 (rEcLECT2) was successfully expressed in Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3), and the antiserum against EcLECT2 was obtained for further investigations. EcLECT2 may be an important molecule in the innate immunity of grouper.
Interferon regulatory factor (IRF) 7 plays a crucial role in modulating cellular responses to viral infection and cytokines, including interferons (IFNs). In the present study, a novel IRF7 gene (designated as EcIRF7) was cloned and characterized from orange-spotted grouper, Epinephelus coioides. The full-length EcIRF7 cDNA is composed of 2089 bp and encodes a polypeptide of 433 amino acids with 81% identity to IRF7 of Siniperca chuatsi, and the genomic DNA of EcIRF7 consists of 9 exons and 8 introns, with a length of approximately 5629 bp. EcIRF7 contains three conserved domains including a DNA-binding domain (DBD), an IRF associated domain (IAD) and a serine-rich domain, all of which are highly conserved across species. Recombinant EcIRF7 was expressed in Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3) and purified for mouse anti-EcIRF7 serum preparation. Realtime quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) analysis revealed a broad expression of EcIRF7, with a relative strong expression in spleen, kidney, skin and intestine. The expression of EcIRF7 was differentially up-regulated after stimulation with Vibrio vulnificus, Staphylococcus aureus and Singapore grouper iridovirus (SGIV). EcIRF7 showed similar intracellular localization pattern to those of mammalian and chicken, and translocated into nucleus after SGIV infection. Further more, EcIRF7 was proved to be capable of activating zebrafish type I IFN promoter and inhibiting the replication of SGIV in grouper spleen (GS) cells. These results suggest that EcIRF7 is potentially involved in grouper immune responses to invasion of viral and bacterial pathogens.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are ubiquitous non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. An increasing number of studies has revealed that viruses can also encode miRNAs, which are proposed to be involved in viral replication and persistence, cell-mediated antiviral immune response, angiogenesis, and cell cycle regulation. Singapore grouper iridovirus (SGIV) is a pathogenic iridovirus that has severely affected grouper aquaculture in China and Southeast Asia. Comprehensive knowledge about the related miRNAs during SGIV infection is helpful for understanding the infection and the pathogenic mechanisms.
Interleukin-2 enhancer binding factor 2 (ILF2), also named as nuclear factor 45 (NF45), plays important roles in regulating interleukin-2 expression in mammals. In the present study, a novel ILF2 gene (designated EcILF2) was cloned and well characterized from orange-spotted grouper, Epinephelus coioides. The full-length EcILF2 cDNA is composed of 1544 bp and encodes a polypeptide of 387 amino acids with 98% identity to ILF2 of Atlantic salmon. The genomic DNA of EcILF2 consists of 14 exons and 13 introns, with a length of approximately 6.9 kb. EcILF2 contains two conserved domains including an RGG-rich single-stranded RNA-binding domain and a DZF zinc-finger nucleic acid binding domain. Recombinant EcILF2 was expressed in Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3) and purified for mouse anti-EcILF2 serum preparation. Subcellular localization analysis revealed that EcILF2 was distributed predominantly in the nucleus. Realtime quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) analysis revealed a broad expression of EcILF2, with a relative strong expression in skin, liver, brain, head kidney and spleen. The expression of EcILF2 was differentially up-regulated after stimulation with Vibrio vulnificus, Staphylococcus aureus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Singapore grouper iridovirus (SGIV). Furthermore, EcILF2 was able to activate human IL-2 promoter in different cell lines and promote the endogenous IL-2 transcription in human H9 T cells. These results suggest that EcILF2 is potentially involved in grouper immune responses to invasion of bacterial and viral pathogens.
C-type lectins play crucial roles in pathogen recognition, innate immunity, and cell-cell interactions. In this study, a new C-type lectin (Ec-CTL) gene was cloned from grouper, Epinephelus coioides by expressed sequence tag (EST) and rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) PCR. The full-length cDNA of Ec-CTL was composed of 840 bp with a 651 bp open reading frame (ORF) that encodes a 216-residue protein. The deduced amino acid sequence of Ec-CTL possessed all conserved features crucial for the fundamental structure, such as the four cysteine residues (Cys(71), Cys(152), Cys(167), Cys(175)) involved in the formation of disulphide bridges and the potential Ca(2+)/carbohydrate-binding sites. Ec-CTL contains a signal peptide and a single carbohydrate recognition domain (CRD). The genomic DNA of the gene consists of three exons and two introns. Ec-CTL showed high similarity of 54% to the C-type lectin of killifish Fundulus heteroclitus. Ec-CTL mRNA is predominately expressed in liver and skin, and lower expressed in kidney, intestine, heart, brain and spleen. The expression of Ec-CTL was differentially up-regulated in orange-spotted grouper challenged with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Vibrio vulnificus, Staphyloccocus aureus and Singapore grouper iridovirus (SGIV). Recombinant mature Ec-CTL (rEc-CTL) was expressed in E. coli BL21, purified and characterized as a typical Ca(2+)-dependent carbohydrate-binding protein possessing hemagglutinating activity. It bound to all examined bacterial and yeast strains, and aggregated with S. cerevisiae, V. vulnificus and S. aureus in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner.
Soft-shelled turtle iridovirus (STIV) is the causative agent of severe systemic diseases in cultured soft-shelled turtles (Trionyx sinensis). To our knowledge, the only molecular information available on STIV mainly concerns the highly conserved STIV major capsid protein. The complete sequence of the STIV genome is not yet available. Therefore, determining the genome sequence of STIV and providing a detailed bioinformatic analysis of its genome content and evolution status will facilitate further understanding of the taxonomic elements of STIV and the molecular mechanisms of reptile iridovirus pathogenesis.
Aberrant expression of miRNAs is closely associated with initiation and progression of pathological processes, including diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. However, the role of miRNAs in lung fibrosis is not well characterized. We sought to determine the role of miR-31 in regulating the fibrogenic, contractile, and migratory activities of lung fibroblasts and modulating of pulmonary fibrosis in vivo. In vivo lung fibrosis models and ex vivo cell culture systems were employed. Real-time PCR and Western blot analysis were used to determine gene expression levels. miR-31 mimics or inhibitors were transfected into pulmonary fibroblasts. Fibrogenic, contractile, and migratory activities of lung fibroblasts were determined. We found that miR-31 expression is reduced in the lungs of mice with experimental pulmonary fibrosis and in IPF fibroblasts. miR-31 inhibits the profibrotic activity of TGF-?1 in normal lung fibroblasts and diminishes the fibrogenic, contractile, and migratory activities of IPF fibroblasts. In these experiments, miR-31 was shown to directly target integrin ?(5) and RhoA, two proteins that have been shown to regulate activation of fibroblasts. We found that levels of integrin ?(5) and RhoA are up-regulated in fibrotic mouse lungs. Knockdown of integrin ?(5) and RhoA attenuated fibrogenic, contractile, and migratory activities of IPF fibroblasts, in a manner similar to that observed with miR-31. We also found that introduction of miR-31 ameliorated experimental lung fibrosis in mice. Our data suggest that miR-31 is an important regulator of the pathological activities of lung fibroblasts and may be a potential target in the development of novel therapies to treat pathological fibrotic disorders, including pulmonary fibrosis.
Clearance of apoptotic cells (efferocytosis) is critical to the homeostasis of the immune system by restraining inflammation and autoimmune response to intracellular Ags released from dying cells. TLRs-mediated innate immunity plays an important role in pathogen clearance and in regulation of the adaptive immune response. However, the regulation of efferocytosis by activation of TLRs has not been well characterized. In this study, we found that activation of TLR3 or TLR9, but not of TLR2, enhances engulfment of apoptotic cells by macrophages. We found that the activation of TLR3 upregulates the expression of triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells (TREM)-like protein 2 (TLT2), a member of the TREM receptor family, on the surface of macrophages. Blocking TLT2 on the macrophage surface by either specific anti-TLT2 Ab or soluble TLT2 extracellular domain attenuated the enhanced ability of macrophages with TLR3 activation to engulf apoptotic cells. To the contrary, overexpression of TLT2 increased the phagocytosis of apoptotic cells. We found that TLT2 specifically binds to phosphatidylserine, a major "eat me" signal that is exposed on the surface of apoptotic cells. Furthermore, we found that TLT2 mediates phagocytosis of apoptotic cells in vivo. Thus, our studies identified TLT2 as an engulfment receptor for apoptotic cells. Our data also suggest a novel mechanism by which TREM receptors regulate inflammation and autoimmune response.
The uptake and clearance of apoptotic cells by macrophages and other phagocytic cells, a process called efferocytosis, is a major component in the resolution of inflammation. Increased concentrations of extracellular histones are found during acute inflammatory states and appear to contribute to organ system dysfunction and mortality. In these studies, we examined the potential role of histones in modulating efferocytosis. We found that phagocytosis of apoptotic neutrophils or thymocytes by macrophages was significantly diminished in the presence of histones H3 or H4, but not histone H1. Histone H3 demonstrated direct binding to macrophages, an effect that was diminished by preincubation of macrophages with the opsonins growth arrest-specific gene 6 (Gas6) and milk fat globule-epidermal growth factor (EGF) 8 (MFG-E8). Incubation of histone H3 with soluble ?(v)?? integrin and Mer, but not with ?(v)??, diminished its binding to macrophages. Phagocytosis of apoptotic cells by alveolar macrophages in vivo was diminished in the presence of histone H3. Incubation of histone H3 with activated protein C, a treatment that degrades histones, abrogated its inhibitory effects on efferocytosis under both in vitro and in vivo conditions. The present studies demonstrate that histones have inhibitory effects on efferocytosis, suggesting a new mechanism by which extracellular histones contribute to acute inflammatory processes and tissue injury.
Chronic hypoxia causes pulmonary vascular remodeling leading to pulmonary hypertension (PH) and right ventricle (RV) hypertrophy. Aberrant expression of microRNA (miRNA) is closely associated with a number of pathophysiologic processes. However, the role of miRNAs in chronic hypoxia-induced pulmonary vascular remodeling and PH has not been well characterized. In this study, we found increased expression of miR-21 in distal small arteries in the lungs of hypoxia-exposed mice. Putative miR-21 targets, including bone morphogenetic protein receptor (BMPR2), WWP1, SATB1, and YOD1, were downregulated in the lungs of hypoxia-exposed mice and in human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) overexpressing miR-21. We found that sequestration of miR-21, either before or after hypoxia exposure, diminished chronic hypoxia-induced PH and attenuated hypoxia-induced pulmonary vascular remodeling, likely through relieving the suppressed expression of miR-21 targets in the lungs of hypoxia-exposed mice. Overexpression of miR-21 enhanced, whereas downregulation of miR-21 diminished, the proliferation of human PASMCs in vitro and the expression of cell proliferation associated proteins, such as proliferating cell nuclear antigen, cyclin D1, and Bcl-xL. Our data suggest that miR-21 plays an important role in the pathogenesis of chronic hypoxia-induced pulmonary vascular remodeling and also suggest that miR-21 is a potential target for novel therapeutics to treat chronic hypoxia associated pulmonary diseases.
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